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Covering the Campaigns
Aired February 17, 2008 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARY SNOW, CNN HOST: Good afternoon and welcome to this special edition of CNN's BALLOT BOWL. I'm Mary Snow in Milwaukee. The presidential candidates are out on the campaign trail vying for your attention, your vote and their party's nomination.
Over the next hour you'll be hearing directly from the candidates, sometimes live, sometimes on tape, but always unfiltered.
Joining me here also in Milwaukee is co-anchor Jessica Yellin and Jessica, the weather is really putting a dent on the campaign trail today.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN HOST: It really is, Mary. Senator Clinton had to cancel a town hall meeting she had planned for this hour but she is instead going to do an unscheduled stop in Milwaukee. We're waiting to hear whether she will keep the rest of her evening schedule elsewhere in this state.
Barack Obama had an overnight stay in Chicago last night got socked in because of the snow and sleet. He's not coming back to do his planned campaign events in Wisconsin so he's having a day in Chicago but hoping to be back here, we're told, for rallies here in Wisconsin tomorrow. Let's take a look ahead for everyone at what's coming up this week on Tuesday.
We're going to see contests in Hawaii where there will be a Democratic contest. In Wisconsin, the primaries. That's where Democrats and Republicans and independents can vote together. In Washington State will hold its own primaries on the Republican side.
Now Senator Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were both here in Milwaukee last night to speak to the annual Founders' Day Dinner. That's a gathering the Democratic Party activists from Wisconsin. A very excited audience who told us they like both of their candidates and they told Hillary Clinton had a very warm reception in response to her message that they has policies, she has real solutions and not just promises. Let's listen.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, CNN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All Americans again want, need and deserve a president who will bring your voices and your values back to the White House. Now, I know we will all breathe a sigh of relief when that moving van pulls up in the back of the White House and George Bush and Dick Cheney turn over the keys but this election is not just about the failures of the past seven years or the divisions of the present or the excitement of the moment. This election must be about the future we want and how we can make it a reality. You know, we all have dreams. We have dreams for our families. For our future. Our country is founded on the idea of the American dream. That with optimism and confidence and without fear we can make the future happen by working hard and taking responsibility.
That's what has always made America great and different. Now, this generation like generations before us is called to make its own commitment and sacrifice. We, too, can be a great generation. To make the American dream real in the 21st century.
But to do that we must get real about what it will take to have the future we dream of. I once wrote a book called "It Takes a Village." Well, I still believe that's true. I will be a president for all of you but for me to be your president and for us to reach America's promise in this century, we also have to agree that shared opportunities and shared prosperity require shared responsibility.
As parents, as neighbors, as workers, as business and political leaders, as a nation. This is about all of us coming together to stake our claim on what it means to be an American in this century. There are people saying America's best days are behind us and that the competition we face from China and elsewhere will mean that we can't continue to have a strong middle class with rising incomes and the kind of quality of life and standard of living that we have taken for granted.
Well, I reject that. I know this will not be easy. Those who claim that it can be done with relatively little effort don't understand what we're up against. We face real challenges. Real threats. We have to be ready to summon the experience, the wisdom and the determination to solve our problems.
It will take more than just speeches to fulfill our dreams. It will take a lot of hard work. Wisconsin Democrats have a choice on Tuesday. It's not an easy choice, I recognize that. Kind of a good problem to have in a way. Because either Senator Obama and I will make history and we'll make history because of all that we are able to exemplify, everything that was done to bring both of us to this point but the question is not who will make history, but who will change America? Who will bring about the positive differences, the 21st century solutions that we so desperately need?
I think that the choice is really whether we're going to have a fighter, a doer and a champion again in the White House. Somebody who gets up every single day with determination, backbone and, yes, toughness. Now, I know some people have said that I am tough.
You know what? We need a tough president because we have tough problems waiting for us. When I say I'll stand with you, I will stand with you. When I say I will fight for you, I will fight for you. That's what I've done my whole life.
When I started my career fighting for abused and neglected children and children with disabilities, I was standing with children who had drawn the short straw in life. Well, I'm still standing with them today. When I went to Beijing as first lady, I stood up for the core American value that women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights.
I took that message to more than 80 countries, to women who couldn't vote or own property or earn a salary or send their daughters to school and I'm still standing for women's rights and human rights.
When I took on the special interests, to try to bring health care to every American back in 1993, the insurance companies and the lobbyists came at me with everything they had. But I'm still here. I'm still standing up to the special interests and I am still standing and fighting for health care for every man, woman and child.
And when the Republicans come after our nominee and you know they will, now, I personally believe they should be so embarrassed by the failed record of President Bush that they should say they won't field a candidate.
But I'm afraid they will. So once again we know exactly what they will do. They'll throw everything they have at whichever one of us is nominated. Well, I've been through it. I've beaten it. I'm still standing and I will beat them again if I am your nominee.
YELLIN: Senator Clinton speaking last night to a very receptive audience of Wisconsin's Democratic Party activists. She woke up to disappointing news for her today. The "Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel" endorsing Barack Obama. They say that even though they disagree with some of his policy positions on health care reform in particular, also on school choice, they like him because he is a Washington outsider more capable of delivering change. A big endorsement for Barack Obama in Milwaukee.
Now, he also spoke at that dinner last night. The same dinner Senator Clinton spoke at. And he hit back against her argument that he is talking a good talk but can he deliver? Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This argument has been made lately in this campaign season, one of them is, you know, Obama has been -- may make a good speech.
He makes a good speech but he hasn't been in Washington long enough. We need a season and stew him a little bit more and boil all of the hope out of him. The American people have not bought this argument, you notice. It's been made for the last nine months. But the American people understand that the last thing we need is to have the same old cast of characters doing the same old things over and over again and somehow expecting a different result. We don't need someone to play the game better but we need someone who can put an end to the game playing and that's why I'm running for president of the United States of America.
We have heard another argument that Obama hasn't gone up against the Republicans. They will tear him up. I've got to explain I'm from the South Side of Chicago. I'm skinny but I'm tough.
And I am looking forward to a debate with John McCain. John McCain is a good man. He's an American hero. And we honor his service to this nation. But he's made some bad choices about the company he keeps. He has embraced every failed policy of George Bush's. He speaks of 100-year war in Iraq and sees another on the horizon with Iran. Let me tell you, if he wants a 100 year war in Iraq that's a good reason not to give him four years in the white house. I'm happy to have that debate with John McCain.
He wants to make permanent the George Bush tax cuts that he once courageously opposed. That's what happens when you spend too long in Washington. The wheels on the Straight Talk Express kind of spin off. And so I'm happy to have that debate about the failed economic policies of the past because I intend to lead the party of tomorrow and not the party of yesterday. That's why I'm running for president of the United States of America.
So I am happy to have a debate with the Republicans. Then we heard another argument, well, you know, one candidate talks pretty. Makes nice speeches. Is inspirational. The other person is in the solutions business. And the notion is I guess words don't matter or are just a bunch of fluff with style over substance.
And you know, this argument obviously ignores the 20 years that I've spent devoted to public service at every level. It's hard to understand if you talk to people who know that they have a job because of the job training I put in place or the health care that they obtained or those who aren't sitting on death row because the criminal justice system that we reformed or those who understand that we've dealt with issues of nuclear proliferation at the international level in ways that haven't been done before.
But understand this argument about words not mattering. I -- The most important thing that we can do right now is to reengage the American people in the process of governance to get them excited and interested again in what works and what can work in our government to make politics cool again and important again and relevant again.
Don't tell me words don't matter. "I have a dream." Just words? "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal," just words? "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Just words. Just speeches.
It's true that speeches don't solve all problems but what is also true is if we cannot inspire the country to believe again, then it doesn't matter how many policies and plans we have and that is why I'm running for president of the United States of America and that's why we just won eight elections straight because the American people want to believe in change again. Don't tell me words don't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: Another rousing speech by Barack Obama at the Milwaukee Democrats' dinner - the Wisconsin Democrats' dinner last night. We'll hear from Barack Obama and Senator Clinton not in consecutive speeches but watch them go head to head this Thursday.
That is a debate CNN is sponsoring on Thursday in Austin, Texas at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Tune in for that. That will be their next debate. And an important one. I should note at last night's dinner something very interesting. Senator Clinton and Obama got very different receptions. Clinton was sort of warm but sedate. Barack Obama got these huge standing ovations.
So I went up to a Democratic Party activist afterward I said why is it that you are so energized for Obama? This person said to me, I liked his speech. It was great but I'm voting for Clinton. And it wasn't the only one I saw. Very hard to infer from what we see at the speeches whether in fact that will necessarily translate into votes.
Folks last night very energized by both candidates. And now I should bring in our Mary Snow who is also here in Milwaukee. Mary, I mentioned that Barack Obama has just gotten the endorsement of the paper here in town but another important endorsement on the Republican side.
SNOW: That's right, Jessica. John McCain is the choice for the "Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel." And you see here, "McCain, Principles Count." And the editorial board is critical of John McCain saying that the presidential candidate john McCain somewhat differs from the pragmatic John McCain on issues like the Bush tax cuts which he initially had opposed that is now in favor of extending and immigration changing his tone a bit but saying that his principles in its words, "selectively guided him to courageous stance and demonstrate an ability to transcend both party and ideology."
It also had some stinging words for Mike Huckabee. Although it does credit Mike Huckabee with several things. It says that his comments on amending the Constitution so it is in God's standard on abortion and marriage in their words say are scary. Speaking of Mike Huckabee, he's going to be here back in Milwaukee later today. That is why we're at a bowling alley of all places. He's going to have a campaign stop here and make a pitch to voters.
We're going to be hearing from Mike Huckabee and John McCain. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
SNOW: Welcome back to CNN's BALLOT BOWL, a chance for you to hear directly from the presidential candidates out on the campaign trail. I'm Mary Snow in Milwaukee.
Wisconsin is the site of the next battleground where primaries will be held on Tuesday. We're here at Olympic Lanes, it is the bowling alley where Mike Huckabee is scheduled to campaign later today.
Mike Huckabee took a little bit of a detour this weekend. He went to the Cayman Islands yesterday and delivered a speech there. It was a speech on leadership and he was paid for it. He didn't disclose the amount of money he was paid for that speech. He said it is something he had done a couple years ago and was invited back and decided to keep the commitment despite that the fact that he's really been battling to stay in the Republican race.
His speech last night was on the light-hearted side. We took an excerpt from it. Here's Mike Huckabee speaking last night in the Cayman Islands.
MIKE HUCKABEE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to also just express that I am very aware that there was one rule about my speech tonight, it was a rule that if Jesus ever did a speech like this after dinner he would have added to the beatitudes of the New Testament that would have gone on like this.
Blessed is the brief for they shall be invited again. I will do my best.
I have had some great experiences in life one of which during my time as governor was being invited to be a part of a conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February of 2001. Mike Leavitt was then the governor of Utah, a close friend, now the Department of Health and Human Services secretary and he invited me and a couple of other governors to come to Salt Lake and be a part of the conference he was doing over the weekend.
So on Friday night we all gathered and answered questions and he got up at the end and said now tomorrow we have a special treat for everybody. The Winter Olympics will be coming to Salt Lake City one year from now in 2002.
And we're taking you all out to Olympic Village. You will be some of the first people to see behind the scenes and watch the athlete train and get to see what the Olympic Village is going to be like a year from now and we'll treat you to something very, very special. The governors' bobsled competition.
When he mentioned that, I thought to myself, hmm, maybe they will name bobsleds after each of the governors who are in attendance and we'll stand up and cheer them on. As he described it, it sounded a whole lot to me as if was intimating to me as governors we were the ones in the bobsleds. I come from South Arkansas. That's not much different than being from Grand Cayman when it comes to bobsleds. I'm sure most of you if you have lived your life on the islands, you have never been in a bobsled. I haven't either. In fact, the only bobsled I had ever seen was the one in the credits of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" where the announcer said, "The thrill of victory."
And then a bobsled went careening off the slide of the hill, probably decapitating everyone in the bobsled. And the announcer says, "And the agony of defeat."
That's in my mind. That's all I could think of about bobsleds and he's up there intimating that I'm going to be in one tomorrow. I go to him afterwards. I said are you serious about that? He said, oh yeah, don't worry about it. I was worried about it. I got back in my hotel and logged on to the Internet and did a search on bobsleds which turned out to be one of the dumbest things I had ever done because the more I learned about bobsleds the more I realized I had no business getting in a bobsled.
First of all, that was 110 pounds ago for me. And the thing I learned about a bobsleds is they are gravity driven so the more weight in the bobsled, the faster they will go. I also learned that they could go up to 93 miles an hour when a professional is driving them. Don't worry. You're an amateur. You probably won't get yours over 75 miles an hour. What a comfort that was.
Leavitt told me don't worry, we're going to give you some training in the morning. So the next day, I get out to Olympic Village. Here is my training. It consisted of pairing me with a 16-year-old junior Olympic athlete who is going to teach me how to drive a bobsled. No offense, my friend, but I don't want to learn how to drive anything from a 16-year-old.
The training consisted of putting spikes on my boots and starting at the bottom of the one-mile bobsled track which is nothing but solid ice and starting at the bottom, and we walked from the bottom to the top and as we walked up the track with these spikes on our boots, the kid is trying to explain to me where I need to put the skids in the bobsled curves as we go through each one of them. And we get to one of the curves and he would say this is number 11. When we get to this one the skids need to be right here. If you get them here, we can, like, go off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: That's Mike Huckabee in the Cayman Islands last night giving a light hearted speech. This was a leadership council he was addressing. And Mike Huckabee always can be said is not a conventional candidate. The fact that we're in a bowling alley right now kind of underscores that. He's going to have a campaign rally here later today when he returns back to Wisconsin. And while he was very light hearted in that speech he also went on to say on the topic of leadership he said, "That many people did not go on to achieve great things because they listened to their critics."
That is a subtle hit that he's not listening to all of the hints that he should drop out of the race because it is mathematically impossible for him to get the delegate count that Senator John McCain does. And he's been vowing to press forward.
Senator John McCain has said that he respects Mike Huckabee's decision to stay in this race. John McCain talking in an ABC interview aired this morning saying he's making progress in reaching out to conservatives in the Republican Party where so much criticism has been leveled at him. He's taking this weekend off from the campaign trail but he will be back in Wisconsin tomorrow but he's also going to be picking up a big endorsement tomorrow morning in Houston by former President George H.W. Bush and that's expected to take place in the morning and he'll come back here to Wisconsin.
He was on the campaign trail last week visiting a number of states. One of them was in Burlington, Vermont. He visited Burlington on Thursday talking about both his Republican opponent and also sharpening some contrasts between him and Democratic contenders. Let's hear from Senator John McCain in his own words on Thursday.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would like to say, as you know, Governor Huckabee is still in this race. I respect his candidacy and I respect his continued participation in this race and I will respect that and we will continue to campaign hard.
I will also campaign hard if we're fortunate enough to get the nomination all over this country. I will take it everywhere in the United States of America if I am the nominee of a party. My friends, I will not concede a single state or vote to my opponent. The United States of America is going to have the opportunity to have a very stark differences in philosophy and view of the role of government.
I am proudly standing before you as a conservative Republican that believes in less government, lower taxes, less regulation, that families make decisions on health care and not government and if I can provide this nation security and I have the experience and knowledge and background.
So we will have stark differences. That debate will be respectful. But there's no doubt in my mind that we have a difference between either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama and myself. I want to lower your taxes, they want to raise your taxes. I want to have less government and they want more government. They believe that government is a solution to your problem. I believe that the ingenuity and innovation and individual strength of America lies with the family and small businesses across America and across Vermont.
I believe that this nation faces a transcendent threat of radical Islamic extremism and I believe that my knowledge and my experience and my background and my judgment qualifies me to take on that with no on the job training. No on the job training.
I would like to talk to you just for a minute about our economy. You know that the economy is in tough shape right now and that we have got enormous challenges.
Let me start out by saying I believe the fundamentals of our economy are still strong. We're still the greatest innovator, the greatest exporter, the greatest innovator, the greatest producer in the world and we will continue to be so. But we also know that we have difficulties in some challenge and let's take them on and let's face them and let's fix them. That's what America is all about, my friends. And I know that we can.
SNOW: Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain earlier this week campaigning in Burlington, Vermont, setting contrast with the Democratic presidential contenders and he says that he believes that he can outcampaign and outperform the Democratic challengers.
We're going to take a quick break. We have lots more from the campaign trail. We're also going to check on other news. Stay with us.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Back to BALLOT BOWL in just a moment. But first these headlines.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia today, prompting angry rebukes from Serbian leaders and their ally Russia.
Kosovars took to the streets in celebration, Serbia vowed to peacefully fight secession and Moscow called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council this afternoon. Kosovo is counting on Western nations to swiftly endorse its independence.
Afghanistan suffers its worst terror attack since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. At least 80 people died in a suicide bombing at an outdoor dog-fighting match in Kandahar. Among those killed, a prominent anti-Taliban warlord described by officials as the likely target.
Armed guards are on watch at polling stations ahead of long-awaited parliamentary elections. Opposition leaders are warning that the government will rig the balloting to give a boost to the party of President Musharraf. Though he's not on the ballot himself the vote is widely seen as a referendum on his leadership. Polls open in about seven and a half hours from now.
Parts of the Deep South in this country are bracing for turbulent weather. In the past hour there have been reports of a tornado touching down north of Pensacola, Florida. And authorities there say several homes have been damaged or destroyed. Let's check in with Jacqui Jeras on the severity of all of this.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Very severe, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jacqui. Thank you so much.
Straight ahead, more of CNN's BALLOT BOWL '08.
SNOW: Welcome back to this special edition of CNN's BALLOT BOWL, a chance for you to hear directly from the presidential candidates out on the campaign trail. I'm Mary Snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And also joining me is my coanchor Jessica Yellin. And Jessica, this severe weather is really putting a crimp in candidates today on the campaign trail, isn't it.
YELLIN: It really is, Mary. Senator Clinton had to alter her schedule canceling a morning town hall meeting and Barack Obama had to entirely cancel his Wisconsin schedule.
He is taking a down day or a no public events day in Chicago. We're still waiting to hear if Senator Clinton will be back on the trail later this evening. And she did make an off the record, a sort of impromptu stop.
We'll bring you that later.
Mary, you're in a bowling alley which seems sort of perfect for BALLOT BOWL. I am at a restaurant called Ma Fisher's Diner. I'll tell you a little bit about it. This is a place that all of the Democratic politicians come here in Milwaukee when they are running for office. They walk around and chit-chat with people. Grip and grins we call them.
It's been here since the '40s and been part of a liberal strong hold in East Side of Milwaukee since that time. And Michelle Obama recently made a visit here where we're told that lots of college students were with her. They came to greet her when she was here.
Again, there's a lot of college students in the State of Wisconsin and they tend to be very enthusiastic about the Obama campaign especially enthusiastic among those young voters. And we have been talking so far this morning a lot about the primary coming up in Wisconsin on Tuesday. But looking beyond that, on March 4th, is what is expected to be the biggest contest of all so far.
The next Super Super Tuesday when both Ohio and Texas go to the polls. The Clinton campaign has made it clear they know they have to win there and they have to win significantly for Senator Clinton to remain strong in this race. The state of the two that is expected to be the battle royale is Ohio. It is a fiercely contested state right now. Both she and Barack Obama planning to spend an enormous amount of time there. This was Senator Clinton speaking in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this past week. Let's listen.
CLINTON: Now, I understand that this is a tough choice for a lot of people.
And I know that as we go forward over the next three weeks in Ohio you are going to hear all kinds of comments and punditry and all sorts of speculation about this election. But I think what's most important is for you to decide who you believe will be the best president, the best commander in chief.
Well, I will need you to make my case for me. I can't talk to every single person in Ohio the next three weeks.
So I'm going to be asking you to do that for me. I want you to tell them that I think there's a big difference between speeches and solutions. Between talk and action. And I have been very specific in this campaign.
You know, I know when I come to an event with all of you here, I could be very general about what I want to do. I could be very rhetorical about what I want to do. We could be cheering and applauding and the lights and music would come up and then it would be over.
But I want you to know what I intend to do as your president. I want you to hold me accountable as your president. I want you to say here's what she said she would do and we're going to make sure she does it. I don't want to be vague and general. I want to be very specific because I want you to know that when I'm in the White House every single day I will say to my Cabinet, the people who work for me, what have you done today to help the people of America have a better future?
With me you will get a fighter, a doer and a champion for the American people. And you will get somebody who knows how to find common ground. That's what I've been doing. I did it in the White House. I have done it in the Senate.
But you will also have someone who knows how to stand our ground. Because not every idea is a good idea for America. And I will be there protecting our country, our values, our Constitution. Preparing us for the future. Making sure we do have those 21st century solutions that will give you jobs in an economy that produces a good middle class lifestyle.
Health care for every single person. A new energy future. Affordable college. That's what I want to be judged on. So if you believe as I do that when the cameras are gone and the lights are down and the president is alone in that Oval Office, on that very first day with two wars, an economy in trouble, 47 million uninsured Americans and millions more whose insurance companies won't pay their bills. An education system beaten down by unfunded mandates and college getting out of the reach of so many, a war that has to be ended and relationships that have to be repaired everywhere.
A global warming crisis that cannot wait. That must be addressed immediately by the president.
You know, I've been there. You know, you can have all of the advisers in the world. You can have all of the people telling you what you should think and what you should do and what you should say. But when it is all over, the president has to decide. It can be a lonely job. It's the hardest job in the world. I'm asking you to hire me for the hardest job in the world.
YELLIN: And we'll hear more from the other person on the Democratic side who wants the hardest job in the world, Barack Obama, that's coming up later. And after this break, we'll hear a note about Mike Huckabee, a musical note. All of that from my colleague Mary Snow. Stay with us on the other side of this break.
SNOW: Now if you're a fan of classic rock, you will recognize that sound as "More Than a Feeling." It was a song by Boston played in the 1970s. It caused a little bit of a controversy on the campaign trail. Seems that Mike Huckabee and his band Capital Offense have played the song a couple times. Mike Huckabee loves to take out his base guitar and that is a song he's played along with his band but Boston's founder Tom Schultz also wrote the song and when he caught wind the fact that "More Than a Feeling" was playing at Mike Huckabee events he wrote a letter to Mike Huckabee saying stop playing that song because Tom Schultz actually supports Barack Obama. And as you know, on the campaign trail music can play a big part at a lot of these campaign stops.
YELLIN: First of all, who would have thought that Mike Huckabee is a Boston fan, A, and B, I think there was a big dust up with John Mellencamp because John McCain was playing Mellencamp songs and I think Mellencamp said listen, I'm an Edwards supporter and I don't want you playing my songs. And McCain as I recall agreed to stop playing that, is that right?
SNOW: Yeah. I believe you're right. A lot of these artists believe that their music would be associated with a candidate and they don't want the message out there. You're right about that. I'm sure we'll have a few more controversies down the way as campaign events keep playing this music. Mike Huckabee, who knew he was a Boston fan and who knew at this campaign stop in Wisconsin he would be bowling for votes today. The chickadee campaign has taken out 24 bowling lanes. Which is why we're here. He's going to be here later today. And do some campaigning but also bowling.
YELLIN: Also I think there's another irony here with the music. At the Obama event they often play a song by Brooks & Dunn that was George Bush's theme song during his race. So a little bit of a nod that he is trying to pick up Republicans. He even does it in the music.
Anyway, you were talking about some stops here as you and I both know we're indoors because the weather outside is just so icky and grim, sleet and snow. It forced Barack Obama to cancel his schedule here and Senator Hillary Clinton we understand is now trying to take off on a flight to see if she can't get to one of her events on the farther outskirts away from Milwaukee.
Both of them eager to campaign in Wisconsin ahead of Tuesday's primary. Both of them in a very close race. The polls show Obama slightly ahead but Senator Hillary Clinton within the margin of error. It is a state in which she could do rather well and perhaps her campaign could pronounce some sort of a comeback building up for her.
We have yet to see exactly, of course, how it will play out but both of them eager to touch as much flesh as they can of the voters and get out there and mingle with people so they can build that momentum and the weather just is not working in their favor today. But, Mary, on your side of the aisle, they're not as active this weekend. What is it they think they can take time off the campaign trail?
SNOW: Yeah, you know, Mike Huckabee as we have been joking about was down in the Cayman Islands making a speech and some asked if he was serious about seeking the Republican nomination because he took time off to give a speech in the Cayman Islands.
And he pointed out, look, John McCain took two days off. I'm just taking one day off. Nobody is questioning him. But John McCain is taking some down time this weekend to recharge the battery. Mike Huckabee will be back here tonight despite the fact that we keep talking about the fact that mathematically it is impossible for him to catch up but he is pressing forward and plans to stay in this race and he's going to be making several campaign stops in Wisconsin tomorrow. He's been running ads here as well but not as active, though, as surely the Democrats have been this past weekend.
YELLIN: And not only are they active on the campaign trail but their campaign staff is also busy convening conference calls for reporters. One of the big issues they are debating this weekend is the role of superdelegates and whether these superdelegates should be allowed decide who becomes the nominee or if that's really the way the party is organized and that's fair. They keep going back and forth on this in the event the race is that close and it goes down to the wire. To the convention.
Something new from the Clinton campaign today, her communications director, the head of Senator Clinton's communications office is calling Barack Obama on what he is saying is a broken pledge. Barack Obama had originally said that if he becomes the Democratic nominee and goes to the general election that he agrees not to take public financing.
Well, now it looks like McCain might be the nominee and if Obama is, now Obama is saying that was sort of an option and we're feeling it out and we'll see.
The Clinton campaign is saying this guy has reneged on a promise because he doesn't have as long a public record. Again this is what the Clinton campaign is saying. All of the public has to go on is his promise and his public statements and they are saying he's already reneged on one promise. Already, so we're starting to see a new argument that will play out in some of the coming contests. And Mary, I understand that John McCain has commented on this very same issue.
SNOW: Yeah. Jessica, he's also been saying that Barack Obama said that he would take public funding if he's the nominee. So we're sure to see more of the back and forth on that.
We have a lit more coming ahead at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, BALLOT BOWL will return. Right now we're going to go to YOUR MONEY on CNN. We'll be back in an hour. Come join us.
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