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Bobby Cutts Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole For 57 Years; Justice Department Looks to Question Roger Clemens; John Lewis Switches Support From Clinton to Obama
Aired February 27, 2008 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Back now to a Canton, Ohio, courtroom, where the victim's sister, Jessie Marie Davis' sister, is speaking.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and stay with her and Blake. We always had fun. She took me to school everyday. Even today, I find myself outside of the school waiting for her to pull in the driveway, but the bus pulls up instead.
Bobby, you have no idea how much pain you have put me and my family through. You say it was an accident. I do not believe that. I only met you once at Jessie's old apartment. You haven't just hurt Jessie, but have hurt my whole family.
How can you live with yourself knowing that you killed such a wonderful woman? How could you come to the searches when you knew where she was? How could you do this to Blake? Blake is an amazing kid. When he is older, I want you to tell him why you did this to his mother.
Jessie was a big part of my life. You didn't just take her, you took my heart with her. I have heard from your family and friends and about their children. Jessie had family and friends also. And they have children, one being myself.
For months, I have tried to explain to my child why Blake's daddy would hurt his mommy. I will never have an answer for him, because I don't understand that myself. When I learned that Jessie was missing, I could have never imagined who would want to hurt her. She was my younger cousin. As children I always thought of her as a baby, but yet always looked up and respected her.
Last time I saw her was at my grandfather's funeral. We discussed getting our children together to play and had a chance to reminisce and laugh about pictures of ourselves, because we always had to wear matching clothes. I will never have the chance to further our relationship as adults.
You have destroyed so many people and so many lives, Blake being the most important one. Hopefully, you have a lifetime to think of that and hopefully someday, he will have the chance to ask you questions, and you can answer them. I feel for your family, as well as ours. We have all lost someone today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, ma'am. (OFF MIC)
WHITNEY DAVIS, SISTER OF JESSIE DAVIS: I had written something, but --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your time. Please, take your time, ma'am.
DAVIS: It just doesn't seem like enough. I can remember three days before I had found out Jessie was missing, I had gone to a funeral for a friend of mine, and her brother died. And the first thing I said to her was, I can't imagine ever losing one of my brothers or sisters.
And then, three days later, I drove with my mom, and we went to Jessie's house, and she wasn't there. And I made that phone call. I called you. And I asked you where she was and what had happened. And I knew -- my mom and I both knew, being in that house, Jessie was gone.
I sat with Blake for hours on that porch, holding him while he cried and asked for his mother. And I knew. I knew that I couldn't -- there was no comforting him, because -- because she wasn't coming back.
And I listened to my family cry. And I listened to your family cry and people are all over the world, people in this community and everywhere, they have cried, and they have mourned the loss of this amazing person while you sat there and you lied.
I just hope that, one day, you will be able to look at your son and tell him the truth. And it just makes me sick that you would just -- I will just never understand it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, ma'am. (OFF MIC)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take as much time as you need.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On June 15th, it was a normal morning for me. I got up. I was getting ready for work and I was almost out the door, and my sister Audrey called me, and she was hysterical. And she told me that Jessie was missing. I had no idea what to do. I moved to Texas. I had been living with Jessie. I was there all alone, all alone. And I had no idea what to do.
I couldn't even call to try to get and plane ticket to come home. I could not even think straight. I spent the whole day throwing up and crying hysterically, because I wanted to know where my sister was. And the first thought that came to my mind was that you had something to do with it. You were the only person in her life, other than her father, that had treated her badly.
She trusted you, and she wanted to make a good life for Blake because you were her father. You used and manipulated her over and over. And still you sit there and you are not crying. I don't believe that you are sorry for what you did. I believe that you are sorry that you got caught up in all of your lies.
You have lied to more people than I can even count. I don't know that you would know the truth. It disgusts me that you sit there and you don't care. If you cared, you would have told the truth. You would not have let my sister's body and my niece's body lay there in that field and rot, so that we could not even have an open casket to look at her one more time.
Do you know what that feels like? You don't, because you have not lost someone. You got rid of someone that was an inconvenience for you. I thought that at some point I might be able to forgive you, but, when I listen to Blake cry, I hate you.
And it disgusts me that you are here and she is gone and I will never get to hold my niece. After the funeral, we told Blake that his mother was in heaven, and do you know what he said to us? He said, "Take me there, so I can be with her."
What are you supposed to say to that? Blake is an amazing child. He is going to grow up to be more of a man than you will ever be or dream of becoming. I hope that, one day, you can tell the truth, although I don't know that you will be able to.
You have caused so much pain for this entire community, for my family, for your family. I don't know what your mother was feeling like when she was up here, asking people to save your life. You are a selfish person, and when you did this, you didn't think about anyone but for yourself and covering up what you had done. I don't know how you can live with yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Attorney Hartnett?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't even look at me. Just put your head down.
Your Honor, he violently murdered her -- 5'4'', nine months pregnant. That baby could have been delivered, Chloe.
Jessie was the voice of reason. The family had some difficult times. Jessie was the one that said, let it go. Jessie was the voice of reason that believed the best, looked for the best. She gave it her all.
Takes a pillow, chokes her out, whatever you did, you killed her. You murdered her, violently.
You won't give me any quality time with him, but I would love to have some time with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. Attorney Hartnett?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last, Your Honor, is Patty Porter, Jessie's mother.
PATTY PORTER, MOTHER OF JESSIE DAVIS: I want you to look at me, though. I have had this conversation in my head with you a million times. This is a day I will never in my life forget. When I walked in that room, the presence of evil was so strong in there, you could hardly breathe. And I knew my daughter was dead. I never, ever thought she walked out of that room.
And when you walked up there that morning, Bobby, I never in my heart wanted to believe you could have hurt her. But, in my soul, I knew you had. I remember pulling into driveway the next day and asking God, where is my daughter? And he said, she is with me, and she is fine. And I made up my mind that day that, whoever did that, I would forgive them, because I never wanted to allow that kind of hatred into my life.
I would have never been able to raise Blake and hate you. And I have written a lot of things here and none of them seem to make any sense. None of this makes sense. There's mornings I have to cover her picture up or I can't get out of the bed. And I just move on and pretend that one day, she will walk through the door again. But you and I know she won't.
I serve an amazing God, Bobby, a God that forgives and heals and restores people. And I want you to know today is that I do forgive you, and I know that it is only through him that I am able to do that. And I pray that you find him, and you find the forgiveness that nobody else in this room can give you. It doesn't matter what anybody else in this room feels for you.
And that one day, you will tell the truth. I think you have lied to so many people, I don't think you know how to tell the truth. I think you are going to have to learn all over again.
And, Your Honor, I may not have a family to go home to after this. But I pray that you make a way for this man to some day be able to get out of there and begin a new life and to hold his son, maybe as a man. And I hope you pray that I'm able to raise him to forgive you. He knows what you did. You would not believe the stories he has told us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF-MIC)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly.
DENNIS BARR, PROSECUTOR: Thank you, Your Honor.
May it please the court. The counsel for defendant said 30 years to life is a long time. And it is. But during that time Mr. Cutts will have the opportunity to visit with his family. On the other hand, death is permanent. And these people that you have just heard from and others will never have the opportunity to visit with Jessie, to hold baby Chloe, and to see her grow. And this is a particularly brutal crime.
Because of this tragic and senseless act, the Davis and Porter families have lost two family members. They lost Jessie, who was a mother, a daughter, a sister. They lost Chloe, who would have been a granddaughter, a niece and a sister.
And what makes it even more brutal, Your Honor, is that at the time this offense was committed, this man was a police officer, a person that we teach our children to look up to, to trust, to go to when they are in trouble.
On June 14th, 2007, he violated that trust, Your Honor, in a brutal and senseless fashion, because he purposely took two lives. And today in this courtroom, each of those lives deserves a sentence to be imposed so that justice can be served in this case.
And I am urging this court to impose every sentence that it can consecutively in this case so that this police officer, Mr. Cutts, can spend as much time as possible behind bars. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Barr.
Anything else to come before the court before the court imposes its sentence?
Counsel for defendant?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very well.
As has been alluded to, I am the trial judge who did preside over these proceedings, both the trial phase and the sentencing phase. I have considered all of the testimony which I have heard. I have also considered the matters which have been brought to my attention this afternoon.
I have also reviewed the principles and purposes of sentencing under Ohio revised code chapters 2929. And I have also balanced the seriousness and the recidivism factor. Every judge in the state of Ohio is sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the state of Ohio and to enact the statutes of the state of Ohio.
There are three principles every judge follows in fashioning in sentence. One is a sentence that will serve as a deterrent to this individual and to others, one that will not demean the seriousness of the crimes which the person has committed, and also which one will protect the other citizens of the state of Ohio.
Again, the court finds that the defendant has been found guilty of murder in regard to count one, aggravated murder with three death penalty specifications. The jury has dealt with those. In regard to count two, aggravated murder with three death penalty specifications, the jury has dealt with those. In regard to count three, one count of aggravated burglary, which is a felony to the fifth degree, with regard to count four, two counts of gross abuse of a corpse, that is five and six, and then child endangering, a misdemeanor of the first degree in regard to count seven.
Obviously, in regard to the murder charges, prison is mandatory. There was not any pre-sentence investigation which was requested or ordered in regard to this matter. Obviously the court finds that community control was not a -- not available in this matter.
Before I go any further, I am going to merge for sentencing purposes counts two and three. In regard to count one, the murder, as I have alluded to before, the sentence in regard to that is life imprisonment with the first possibility of parole after serving 15 full years of imprisonment. The jury has rendered its verdict in regard to counts two and three, which the court has merged. And that is life imprisonment with the first possibility for parole, eligibility for parole, after 30 full years of imprisonment. So, those two are merged for sentencing purposes.
Aggravated burglary, as I have indicated before, a felony of the fifth -- of the first degree, can be punished by a prison term of three to 10 years in whole years. Each one of the felonies of the fifth degree, gross abuse of a corpse, can be punished by a prison term of six to 12 months in whole months, and the endangering children, misdemeanor to the first degree, 180 days local incarceration, which by law must be run concurrently.
The court finds that it is appropriate to run all of the sentences consecutively. In regards to the felony of the first degree, aggravated burglary, the court imposes a 10-year prison term. In regard to each one of the felonies of the fifth degree, gross abuse of a corpse, the court imposes the maximum again, which is a one-year prison term.
That means that there is a 15-year first-time eligibility for parole in regard to the murder, means that it is 30 years in regard to counts two and three. Those are to be run consecutively. In regard to the felony of the first degree, 10 years, that is to be run consecutively. In regard to each of the felonies of the fifth degree, one year, and those are to be run consecutively.
Add the 15, the 30, the 10, and the 20, and the two years for each one of the felonies of the fifth degree, if my math is right, it comes out to be 57 years. And that is the sentence of this court. Everything is to be run consecutively that by law can be run consecutively.
Mr. Cutts is to be given credit for jail time served against the 10 years and the -- each one of the one years, so that is against the 12 years, but, by law, the 15 and 30 years which are run consecutively, that is full years of imprisonment. That does not include jail time credit which he has served in the Stark County Jail.
He is required to pay the costs of these proceedings additionally. The time he is released from prison, the defendant is advised that the Adult Parole Authority will place you on a period of mandator five-years post-release control. If it is alleged and found that you violated the terms and condition of your post-release control, post-release control can be made more restrictive, or, in the appropriate case, your post-release control can be revoked. So, you can be returned to prison, even though you have served your full prison term. Now, before I go any further, because there are fines that can be imposed, and I'm going to need to address appellate rights in just a minute, and so I will be asking about the indigency or non-indigency status of the defendant.
But, before I go any further, counsel for state of Ohio, anything else in regard to the sentencing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIC)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That by law has to be run concurrently. And if I didn't make it clear that I was imposing the maximum, then I apologize for that. But that is the maximum. But that 180 days is run concurrently by law with the 57 years.
Anything else at the counsel's table?
Counsel for the defendant?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very well.
Now, I have not addressed the fines. Let me go to Criminal Rule 32 in regard to notice of right to appeal.
Mr. Cutts, pursuant to Criminal Rule 32, I must advise you of your right to appeal the conviction. And I need to advise you that you do have the right to appeal the convictions. You also have the right to appeal the sentence which the court has just imposed. If you are unable to pay the cost of the appeal, then you have right to...
LEMON: OK. So the judge is going on and talking about other, the other counts and what he is going to do with that, but basically the information that we need to glean from this, 57 years in prison until he is eligible for parole.
And we listened to those family members in this case, to the mother, sisters and other family members, and they had some really harsh words for Bobby Cutts Jr. And probably the most interesting one, though, I would have to say is the mother, who said that, regardless of my family -- I may not have a family to go to, home to, she said, after I say this, but I hope you get out of here and I hope you find God and I hope you turn your life around and I hope you are able to hold your son.
Mickey Sherman has been listening to all of this with us, and he joins us now.
Mickey, we talked about this emotional testimony that may come or emotional appeals that may have come from the family. And now we have them. Surprising that the mother is so forgiving here?
MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I have seen that happen. It is not that unusual. And it is just a personal reaction that some folks have. And it is often shocking to people from the outside of the criminal justice system that people will be anything but so damning, but some people treat these things differently than you would expect.
I have seen victims and victims' families do this before. Plus, another theory is that say they would rather have him in jail, so that he was there to remember what harm he caused and what tragedies he is responsible for, rather than take an easier way out by being killed.
And you listened to other family members as well. And they were talking, giving their stories.
What reason -- and it may be obvious here, but you know, you being a defense attorney, what reason do they allow family members to do this? Is it just for -- to vent, just so he knows the ramifications of what he has done, how many people he has hurt?
I think it's -- one of the bases for sentencing is not just deterrence and rehabilitation, but retribution. It is a valid reason to sentence somebody to a harsh period in order to give the victims of that crime some measure of a blood revenge.
That sounds harsh, but it is actually a valid reason. So to let them vent is something that they are entitled to. And, again, this is only in the last maybe 10, 15 years that the judges have really begun to appreciate the rights and the responsibility that they have to let victims say whatever they want to say.
What you noticed is, you can see in the scene right there now is the amount of sheriffs and bailiffs and court officers who are there, because it is also just as likely that the father, the mother, the brother, the cousin will lunge forward and start choking...
LEMON: And we have seen that happen, Mickey.
SHERMAN: Many, many, many times.
SHERMAN: And that why you need good police, good sheriff's deputies there, who won't overreact and who will compassionate when they are dealing in restraining somebody.
I assume also they have at have all gone through at least one metal detector at this point as well.
SHERMAN: But to let victims speak, it is not just the rage. It's the right thing to do. It's pretty commonsensical.
So, we're looking the 57. And I'm sure you have no doubt that he was going to for, the judge here, because he had the final say.
LEMON: Yes. Whatever was the longest amount of time that he could spend in prison.
LEMON: And 57 years, Bobby Cutts, 30-years-old. Is it May 1977 he was born? So he is 30, coming up on 31-years-old. He will be 87 by the -- safe to say he's going to spend his -- the rest of his life in prison.
SHERMAN: Yes, yes, yes.
And, you know, and these folks don't do that well in jail. Look at Jeffrey Dahmer, was murdered in jail.
LEMON: That was my next question.
SHERMAN: And especially when you kill babies. And if he runs up to another lifer.
And also, isn't he a police officer?
SHERMAN: That is not easy time for a police officer.
LEMON: That doesn't go over well, does it?
SHERMAN: So, he has got a lot of strikes against him in terms of survivability in prison.
LEMON: So, we have heard from the family members. And now this is -- we won't hear from Bobby Cutts anymore, right?
SHERMAN: I doubt it. I mean, what -- no. What, is he going to argue and say, give me concurrent sentences? No, he would be insane to say anything. There is nothing to gain. There is nothing to lose. But there is certainly nothing to gain.
LEMON: And we are looking now, Mickey, at the family members as they -- it looks like they are adjourning here.
But we are looking at the family members. And, I mean, obviously, they look wiped. They're wiped out.
LEMON: And who wouldn't be? The family is leaving first. And it looked -- it appears that they are going to, some of them, come the -- this way at the camera and hugging each other, as well.
And, also, you know, Bobby Cutts' family in the courtroom there, too. And you heard the family members say, you know, your family is lost, my family is lost and there's no winner in this.
SHERMAN: And that's such an interesting point and it happens more often than you think that they look at it as a common tragedy. And both of the families do not and are not often antagonistic to each other, and sometimes they are.
But more often than not, they realize my dad -- the father didn't tell him to do this. So they treat it as a common tragedy and sometimes you'll see them embrace and be very respectful of one another and sometimes even affectionate.
LEMON: Because there's something -- when you get to this point, you realize, you know, how -- just how tenuous life is...
LEMON: ... and why blame people for things? The only people -- the only person, I think, that they're blaming in this case is Bobby Cutts.
SHERMAN: Is Bobby Cutts. And it's an unusual phenomena. It's a bonding that goes on. It's like they've all been on this crazy ship of fools and they've been on this voyage.
And even though they're on different sides of the aisle, they still have been in this phenomenon together. And it's amazing -- you saw it in the -- well, I can't remember the guy's name, but after the Rodney King riots, when the fellow was beat up in the car...
LEMON: Oh, yes, the truck, yes.
SHERMAN: And when the defendant got off of the stand, he hugged the mother of the victim -- or the mother of the victim went and hugged him.
LEMON: Yes. And I think Brianna had -- you just said it was Reginald Denny, right?
SHERMAN: Reginald Denny, exactly.
SHERMAN: Reginald Denny, the defendant, was hugged by the mother. It was a fascinating thing. So it's not that unusual.
LEMON: So, real quick, Mickey. We've got to move on. We've got lots of other news here.
But what happens next? Where do we go from here?
SHERMAN: An appeal process, but it isn't going anywhere.
SHERMAN: I mean unless the judge made some really striking errors, which is unlikely.
SHERMAN: And he's -- the guy is ahead of the game. He's not getting the death penalty. This is a win -- in the win column for him.
LEMON: Hey, Mickey Sherman, we appreciate it.
SHERMAN: My pleasure, folks.
LEMON: Thank you very much for that.
We've been watching the sentencing phase of what's happening with Bobby Cutts, Jr. , the police officer -- former police officer in Canton, Ohio who has been convicted now of killing his girlfriend and their unborn child, baby Chloe. Jessie Lee Davis was nine months pregnant when she was killed by Bobby Cutts, Jr. .
We've been listening to emotional -- emotional -- we can call it testimony -- the emotional words of the family members there. And it's just -- you can't watch that without tearing up, Brianna. It's just -- it was a really sad moment in the courtroom today. So that's it, unless there's something new that happens with the appeals process.
But we heard Mickey Sherman saying it's not going to go anywhere. That's it for now as it comes to this case. But we'll have more information throughout the day and also in prime time on this Bobby Cutts' case on CNN.
KEILAR: Roger Clemens said he's never used steroids or performance enhancing drugs. He said it repeatedly and he said it under oath. Now he could be facing a federal perjury investigation.
KEILAR: The stakes just got higher for baseball great Roger Clemens. Two prominent members of Congress have asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Clemens lied when he appeared before their committee. Clemens, as you know, repeatedly denied ever taking steroids or hormone growth hormone earlier this month, while sitting just a few feet from his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who swore that he had given Clemens performance-enhancing drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER CLEMENS, BASEBALL PITCHER: I'm not saying Senator Mitchell's report is entirely wrong. I am saying that Brian McNamee's statements are about me are wrong. Let me be clear, I have never taken steroids or HGH.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And our justice correspondent, Keli Arena joining me now from Washington.
So, Keli, what does this all mean?
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the Department of Justice has confirmed for CNN that it did receive a request from Congressmen Henry Waxman to look into whether Roger Clemens lied under oath to Congress. And the Justice Department says it's reviewing that request.
Now, as you said, Clemens did testify before a House committee that he never used steroids, never used human growth hormone. Again, that was in direct contradiction to what his trainer, Brian McNamee, told the very same committee.
The Justice Department says that it may decide to refer that letter from the Congressman to the FBI to investigate. Now it did that with a similar letter regarding veteran shortstop Miguel Tejada.
Now, Brianna, it's very important to note that when you testify before Congress under oath, it's just the same as doing it in a court of law. And if you do lie, you can be charged with perjury or making false statements. But just the fact that an investigation is opened does not, by any means, mean that there will be charges. That decision will be made by the Justice Department somewhere down the line.
KEILAR: All right. So it could be a whole lot of nothing there. It's certainly a possibility.
Keli Arena, our justice correspondent, there in Washington.
We also want to tell our viewers, we have some new video, if we can bring that up. We have some video. This is Roger Clemens. He's at spring training right now. This is video from today coming from our affiliate, WESH. You can see Clemens there. He just got into his car in Kissimmee, Florida at spring training. So he's going about business as usual, at least for right now.
LEMON: All right. Big car?
KEILAR: Big car.
Barack Obama picks up a big endorsement. The latest from the wooing of the superdelegates. That's next.
LEMON: OK. Barack Obama picks up a big endorsement at Hillary Clinton's expense.
Our Atlanta affiliate, WSB, is reporting Georgia Congressman and Democratic superdelegate John Lewis is switching to Obama.
All of my guests are here. Superdelegate -- it sounds like he's a superhero. Joining us now from New York is political analyst Keli Goff. In Washington, Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus. And Mike Allen, chief political correspondent for Politico.com.
It sounds like they're superheroes and we're kind of treating them that way. We've been talking about them so much, right?
KELI GOFF, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they have super political powers at the moment.
LEMON: They do. All right, well, we'll start with you, then, as I'm going to start without the moderator here.
What do you make of this whole John Lewis thing?
GOFF: Well, you know, it's not a total shock. I mean, really, there were definitely signs that he might be leaning that direction. But it really is a significant loss for the Clintons. You know, when I first started working on my book, "Party Crashing," a lot of what I was writing about was this apparent generational divide, with younger African-Americans going for Obama, older African-Americans of the civil rights generation leaning toward Clinton for a variety of reasons, including their longstanding relationship.
LEMON: But, you know what, in the beginning, I remember, I remember, Keli, doing stories on that and talking to people about that. And they were like well, he doesn't have enough experience. We're going to wait to see.
LEMON: We're not sure. That seems to be changing now, though. That's -- you know, that seems to be old news. I don't want to, you know, down your book here, but I think that's all changed.
GOFF: Oh, no -- well, I'm going to slightly disagree with you. It actually wasn't so much about the experience issue. It was really more about older black Americans believing our country wasn't not ready and evolved enough to actually elect someone who's black.
GOFF: I mean I'm just being blunt. I have parents and grandparents who remember the bad old days of segregation.
GOFF: And in their minds, it was a fairytale that a black person would actually get this far.
LEMON: So it's not surprising to you?
GOFF: When he started winning...
LEMON: But I want to --
GOFF: ... older black Americans started reevaluating.
LEMON: So, Keli, I want to get the Republican side. I want to talk to Cheri now.
Cheri -- and I know what you're going to say. You're saying he took his finger and put it up in the air to see which way the wind was blowing, right?
CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sure. Sure. I think that's exactly what happened.
LEMON: Is that correct?
JACOBUS: He saw that Obama was surging in the polls and everybody wants to be on the side of a winner. So, again, yes. You put your finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing and you go that direction.
And I think that's a really big problem for the Democrats, which they already know, this whole superdelegate situation has really put them in a bind because any time one of the superdelegates aligns themselves with one of the candidates, particularly in a situation like this, where you suddenly go with the person who is surging, you know, you have to ask yourself that question...
JACOBUS: ... what do they want in return? And that's a natural thing and I think that's a huge problem for the Democrats right now.
LEMON: OK, Cheri --
GOFF: Cheri, that might have been true last week, but they're going with --
LEMON: All right, Cheri and Keli, hang on. Hang on. Hang on. I've got to tell you guys, we don't have a lot of time because we had so much breaking news today. So we've got to keep it short. And I hate to cut you off, but I want to bring Mike in and I want Mike to talk about last night's debate.
Anything interesting, anything stand out, you know, everyone talking -- sort of getting -- I've been asking people sort of on the streets, what did you think about last night's debate?
MIKE ALLEN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO.COM: You know --
LEMON: Not much.
ALLEN: Yes, well, Don, something huge that came through is how cool under fire Senator Obama is. Tim Russert prodded him a little bit. Senator Clinton went at him a little bit. He clearly didn't want to fight her. And as she gets under fire, she talks louder or fights back. As Senator Obama came under fire, he basically conceded his points. He was playing a prevent defense. He felt good.
Senator Clinton -- you could see her exasperation, some of it very well-founded --
ALLEN: Her campaign extremely frustrated with the press. They feel like every time she draws a contrast with Obama...
LEMON: With her -- yes.
ALLEN: ... we're like Hillary on the attack.
LEMON: That the media is giving Barack Obama a pass.
Real quickly -- and I want, Cheri if you -- I want you to get this in real quick, because I want to move on. But do you want to talk about their stances on Iraq? You thought that was a huge moment.
JACOBUS: Sure. It's the most important issue of this campaign. I think we've known that for a while. Hillary Clinton waffles on her position to help save her political career. Barack Obama has stuck to his original position --
JACOBUS: As a reminder, he wasn't even in the Senate yet. He didn't have a national career before the vote. John McCain has said success in Iraq...
JACOBUS: ... is more important than his political career, which is why he is now ahead in the polls -- a new "L.A. Times" poll, he's ahead of both...
GOFF: OK. You got it in.
JACOBUS: ... Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: You got it in.
JACOBUS: And that's why.
LEMON: And now I want to talk about now, the Republicans. And let's talk about that introduction, real quickly. I want you to hear this and then we'll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CUNNINGHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: At some point in the near future, the media is going to peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama. That day will come. Then you'll know the truth about his business dealings with Rezko, when he got sweetheart deals in Chicago and the illegal loans that he received. At some point, the media will quit taking sides in this thing and maybe start covering Barack Hussein Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. I've got to tell you, so John McCain apologized. We know he said he didn't know what he was going to say, he didn't know he was going to be introduced. But people are free to say whatever they want.
I think -- and there are many people who think that it's a good strategy. You have someone else criticize Barack Obama, which Hillary Clinton is having trouble doing, and then you apologize for it. And that way it's out there.
GOFF: I'm sorry, can I --
LEMON: Yes. Sure.
GOFF: OK. You know, I have to say, that in this --
LEMON: That's never stopped you before. Go ahead.
GOFF: So true. I have to say that this is a perfect example of why Independents should wear a t-shirt that says "I Heart John McCain." because I think he actually handled this beautifully. And I actually thought that he was genuine and sincere in apologizing for it.
And I think the fact that he was willing to wake the ire of the Rush Limbaughs of the world to do so speaks volumes about him. I mean this wasn't necessarily a win for him just to go out there to apologize. Because, as you saw immediately, a lot of the sort of fringe conservatives immediately came out and denounced him.
LEMON: OK, Keli, I've got to -- I want to let Cheri in. She's a Republican strategist. I want you to get in on this and tell me what you think.
JACOBUS: Yes, I think that this talk show host, Bill Cunningham, who gave the introduction, was clearly trying to goad Obama and it worked. We know that Obama is very thin-skinned and claims that everything is unfair or a low blow or racism.
And you can't mention his middle name. And you can't call him a liberal. And you can't reference the fact that he has almost no experience. And I think that, you know, he took the bait and it shows his inexperience and it's great that John McCain...
GOFF: ... agree with you.
LEMON: OK. Hey, listen guys...
JACOBUS: That way people are going to agree with him --
LEMON: I'm going to have to be -- I'm going to have to be the task master here and say I'm sorry. We are out of time.
LEMON: And I want to -- I really want to apologize...
GOFF: Well, you're a good one.
LEMON: ... to Mike -- Mike Allen, because, Mike, you didn't get to speak a lot here. So next time we'll give you a chance to speak.
ALLEN: Great. Have a good week, Don.
LEMON: So again, Mike Allen, political correspondent for Politico.com. Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus and Keli Goff, who is a political analyst in New York.
Thank you very much for joining us, all of you.
JACOBUS: Thank you so much.
ALLEN: Thanks, Don. Have a good week.
KEILAR: Not exactly dry humor -- pun intended there. A border battle over water heating up as a Tennessee mayor sends Georgia lawmakers sort of a message in a bottle.
KEILAR: A message in a bottle -- the mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee says the truckload of water he sent to Georgia today is -- and I'm quoting here -- "the cool wet kiss of friendship." It's also a joke, but few are laughing in Atlanta -- here in Atlanta, where lawmakers are trying to correct an almost 200-year-old mistake in locating the Georgia/Tennessee line. If they're successful, drought- stricken Georgia could tap the voluminous Tennessee River.
Now, the mayor says Georgians should take his joke as seriously as he's taking their efforts to tap the river.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RON LITTLEFIELD, CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE: You'll always have people that will see the negative side of it. But I've talked with a lot of friends in Georgia, including people in the legislature. They think it's funny. And it's intended to be light-spirited and to -- basically to make fun of an issue that we think is going nowhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now both states do agree the border was mistakenly surveyed in the early 1800s. But Tennessee says it is far too late for Georgia to claim the disputed land.
LEMON: Well, this one came as a shock to everyone. He was renowned for his mastery of the English language. Did we mention that English was his third language? A look at the life of William F. Buckley. That's next.
LEMON: He loved to use really big words on "Firing Line" the TV show and the talk show he hosted for 23 years and the "National Review, " a magazine he founded in 1955. Of course, of course I'm referring to William F. Buckley. The conservative icon and prolific author died overnight at his home in Connecticut. He reportedly suffered from emphysema and diabetes, but we don't yet know the cause of his death. William F. Buckley, Jr. was 82.
KEILAR: The closing bell and the wrap of the action on Wall Street straight ahead.
KEILAR: And the closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street.
LEMON: Susan Lisovicz is standing by with a final look at the trading day.
Susan, it's been a very busy day for us. How about you?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very busy day. And, you know, we've got a little bit of time, so I wanted to mention a story about one of my favorite bands and a band that you guys probably are well familiar with, because they come from Atlanta -- the Black Crows.
LEMON: Oh, yes.
KEILAR: Oh, this is a good story, I think.
LISOVICZ: The Black Crows releasing their first album in seven years next week. Now, "Maxim" magazine reviewed it -- the album is called War Paint -- and, you know, gave it two-and-a-half stars out of five.
Well, the Black Crows weren't happy with the review and they weren't happy with the idea of a review, because they only released one song. So "Maxim" has come out with an apology and said yes, we usually actually don't put stars next to an album or CD unless we've listened to it in its entirety. So there you go.
KEILAR: I think Maxim said it was a guesstimate or something like that. But clearly that's not something that the Black Crows would be happy about (INAUDIBLE). LEMON: Yes. I was looking up their hits, because I remember the Black Crows. They were part of that grunge -- the whole grunge thing, right, with Kurt Cobain and all that back in the early '90s?
LISOVICZ: Yes, they -- yes, but they've, fortunately, lasted a lot longer than Nirvana.
LEMON: Yes. Yes, they did. They did. OK.
LISOVICZ: OK. Now, no...
LEMON: So a mea culpa from "Maxim," basically?
LISOVICZ: A mea culpa from "Maxim."
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