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Bush Endorses McCain; Latino Vote Makes Difference for Hillary; Democratic Race Has Husband, Wife at Odds; World Following U.S. Elections

Aired March 05, 2008 - 13:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So it's a clinch for John McCain, a comeback for Hillary Clinton. The GOP presidential contest is over, while the Democratic race is even more of a race.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And Clinton breaks Barack Obama's winning streak with some key wins of her own. And the man whose campaign nose-dived just last summer now flying high.

Hello, from the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Fredricka Whitfield in today for Kyra Phillips.

LEMON: Certainly very interesting. Went to bed, it was...

WHITFIELD: Fascinating.

LEMON: ... looking one way, and then all of a sudden, turned out to be something else. You never know.

I'm Don Lemon, live in the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, as well. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

All right. So let's get right to it. You're looking at live pictures now from the White House. And that's because minutes from now, John McCain will pick up one of the biggest endorsements of his political career, and it's coming from the man he ran against eight years ago.

CNN's Dana Bash traveled with McCain camp from Texas to Washington today, and she's about to cover the endorsement live at the White House. And she joins us now by telephone.

What was it like traveling with them, Dana? I'm sure the excitement was -- probably, I don't know -- they couldn't contain themselves.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's true. You know, there was definitely a tired crew on that plane ride coming here to Washington. But let me set the scene for you here, Don.

I'm inside, in the Rose Garden, and I'm standing outside the Oval Office, watching the scene inside. You can see Senator McCain is clearly in there with President Bush. They're preparing to come out before the cameras, and for President Bush to formally endorse Senator McCain. I mean, what a difference eight years makes. It is so important to really note what a -- what a critical moment of history this is. Because remember, eight years ago, it was George W. Bush who prevented John McCain from getting the Republican nomination, and obviously having any chance of reaching this White House.

But now, eight years later, after a very complicated relationship that the two of them have had, it's been a partnership, maybe a bit of an awkward alliance. But a bit of a partnership over the past several years. The two of them have come together.

And President Bush greeted Senator McCain at the North Portico of the White House, a place that is designated for very important people who you want to pay respect to. And President Bush very much did that. He greeted Senator McCain at the car, brought him in. It was a metaphor and a picture sent, a message sent, the symbol of, you know, the passing of the baton, within the Republican Party.

LEMON: Yes, and you said, Dana, what a difference a couple eight years makes. What a difference, really, a couple months makes.

BASH: Really (ph).

LEMON: Because I mean, this campaign was really down and out and people thought it was at its end.

On the Democratic side, though, they're feeling like this is, you know, kind of a good thing. Are McCain's people worried at this point at all about the Democrats?

BASH: You know, it's interesting, Don. You heard immediately after we reported that this was going to happen last night, the Democrats basically jumping up and down, saying, "They're going to have a photo op at the White House? That is terrific. The best thing that we can have," from the Democrats' perspective, "is a picture of Senator McCain with a very unpopular president."

You know, talking to Senator McCain's advisers on the way here, they say, look, it is what it is. The president is where he is, and Senator McCain has this relationship with him. And when you talk about the No. 1 issue that has really pulled the president's poll numbers down, the war in Iraq, Senator McCain has -- is behind the war. He criticized the execution of the war, but he's behind it.

And the reality is this, Don. The reality is that the president is still very popular with the Republican base, the base that John McCain is trying desperately to rally around his candidacy.


BASH: And the reality is he's a very good fundraiser. So McCain advisers said they're going to use President Bush as much as he possibly wants to be used for those particular...

LEMON: To raise -- to raise the money but not necessarily because of the last four years. BASH: Exactly, exactly. And those -- and those things that they probably talked about inside this private lunch that they are just wrapping up here at the White House.

LEMON: Dana Bash, as soon as it happens, get back to us. Thank you.

BASH: OK (ph).

WHITFIELD: Meantime, CNN's Elaine Quijano is also at the White House.

Elaine, President Bush and Senator McCain, bitter rivals back in 2000, even up to more recently. Now seemingly the best of buddies. Is this coming together, really, at the urging of the party, which says, "We have to all get along here"?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, President Bush understands his role here, and as Dana pointed out, there is a very long and complex history between these two men, once political rivals eight years ago, now coming together and forging this political alliance.

We should really mention that it was back in 2004 we saw Senator John McCain not only endorsing but embracing President Bush to give President Bush, at that time, a boost in his campaign efforts.

Now we see President Bush today rolling out the red carpet. As Dana noted, the president having that private lunch with Senator McCain in the dining room off the Oval Office.

The two men obviously want to show that they have put their political differences of the past behind them. They want very much to show particularly conservatives within the party that they in fact are of the same mind. You'll recall Senator McCain has had some problems with some skeptical conservatives.

President Bush, though, after weeks, really, of having to tiptoe around the notion of giving a direct endorsement to Senator John McCain, is now able to jump in with both feet, essentially, and we're going to be hearing that.

Here is White House press secretary Dana Perino on this just a short time ago.


DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have many things that we agree with Senator McCain on. First and foremost the two most important priorities, President Bush thinks, are the commitment to making sure the country remains safe and that we have pro-growth policies and low taxes.

But there are differences that we have with Senator McCain. There's no doubt about that. That's plain for everybody to see. But one of the things that's most attractive about Senator McCain's candidacy for Republicans across the country, is that he has blazed his own trail. And he is a wonderful leader, and President Bush is very pleased to have him here today.


QUIJANO: Now, a senior administration official says that the timing of this endorsement today, essentially the White House looked at the calendar and looked at the math and saw that, once Senator McCain did, in fact, have the required number of delegates, that this would be the time.

Also something that the president was very mindful of: he wanted to be respectful of the other candidates in the race. Of course, now that Governor Huckabee is out, essentially cleared the way, so President Bush set to give his official endorsement just a short time from now -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Elaine. Thank you so much from the White House.

LEMON: And Hillary Clinton is trumping last night's primary victories in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island. Her biggest win: Texas, where she beat Barack Obama 51 percent to 48 percent. And we're still showing election results on the bottom of your screen, just so you know, since the Texas caucuses are still in play.

Senator Clinton's margin in Ohio was bigger. She won 54 percent of the vote to Obama's 44 percent. In her victory speech, Clinton pointed out that no candidate in recent history, Democrat or Republican, has won the White House without winning the Ohio primary.

Nevertheless, Obama, who has won Vermont, the Vermont primary, says the delegate count is what matters.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We went into Texas and Ohio down 20 points. You know, we had won 11 straight. Senator Clinton decided that they can only contest in these two states, where she had an advantage. And she did well.

But as I said before, we emerged with the same delegate gap between her and me that we had, essentially, before we got in. And so we have constantly focused on the next states in front of us. We've got Wyoming and Mississippi this week. We think we'll do well. And then we go on to Pennsylvania and the other states that follow.


LEMON: And Clinton is looking ahead to a general election match- up with John McCain.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think what's morn here is that this campaign has turned a corner. It is now about who is strongest against the Republican nominee, John McCain. You know, people who voted a month ago didn't know who the Republican nominee was going to be. They didn't perhaps factor in that it will be about national security. Because indeed, with Senator McCain, that's what it will be about.


LEMON: Hillary Clinton was counting on Latino support in Texas, and she was not disappointed.

Joining us now from Austin, Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN in Espanol.

And Juan Carlos, I want to tell you, we just got the two-minute warning from the White House, where John McCain and the president are going to speak -- they are going to speak in the Rose Garden. So we may have to cut it a little bit short.

And there's Cindy McCain walking out now. And again, to the right side of the screen, live pictures of the White House.

Well, let's talk about the Latino vote. And Juan Carlos, I'll let you go on. She was counting on the Latino vote in Texas. And it looks like it came through for her.

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN EN ESPANOL: It came true. The numbers are very similar to what we've seen in states like Nevada and California. In Texas, it was 67 percent for Hillary Clinton, 31 for Barack Obama. No surprise there. That was what the exit polls had shown.

And speaking to people, what they tell us is they know Hillary Clinton, they know her husband, they know the name. They don't know Barack Obama as well. So they delivered the vote for Hillary Clinton, and this is one of the last states where the Hispanic vote is decisive.

LEMON: OK. So Juan Carlos -- Juan Carlos, we've seen how Clinton stacks up against Obama among Latinos. How would she do against McCain? Will Latinos support him, since he -- you know, he's behind on immigration reform? That's the question.

LOPEZ: Well, he supported immigration reform. But even though he's changed his position on it after the defeat of that reform last year, he said that illegal immigrants have to be treated humanely. And I think that's going to resonate with Hispanics. Hispanics like the type of candidate that John McCain represents. So it's going to be an interesting challenge.

Both Ronald Reagan and George Bush were able -- President George Bush -- were able to get the Hispanic vote, to get high numbers, even around 40 percent. John McCain, depending on the type of campaign he runs, might be able to do the same thing, Don.

LEMON: OK, Juan Carlos Lopez, thank you very much for that.

And again, you're watching live coverage at the White House. Fredricka Whitfield here with me. And Fred, there he goes. He's going to -- he's talking. He said, "My honor to welcome." And so why don't we listen in? John McCain and the president of the United States.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A while back, I don't think many people would have thought that John McCain would be here as the nominee of the Republican Party, except he knew he'd be here, and so did his wife, Cindy.

John showed incredible courage, strength of character and perseverance, in order to get to this moment. And that's exactly what we need in a president: somebody who can handle the tough decisions; somebody who won't flinch in the face of danger. We also need somebody with a big heart.

I have got to know John well in the last eight years. I've campaigned against him, and I've campaigned with him. Laura and I have spent time in their house. He's a man who deeply loves his family. He's a man who cares a lot about the less fortunate among us.

He's a president, and he's going to be the president who will bring determination to defeat an enemy and a heart big enough to love those who hurt. And so I welcome you here. I wish you all the best. Glad to be your friend.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to receive the endorsement of the president of the United States, a man who I have great admiration, respect and affection.

We -- he and I, as is well known, had a very -- a very good competition in the year 2000, and I was privileged and proud to have the opportunity to campaign for his election and re-election to the presidency of the United States.

I appreciate his endorsement. I appreciate his service to our country. I intend to have as much possible campaigning events, and -- together as is in keeping with the president's heavy schedule. And I look forward to that opportunity. I look forward to the chance to bring our message to America.

Last night, as you know, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton called to congratulate me. I pledged at that time, and I pledge again, a respectful campaign, a respectful campaign based on issues and based on the stark differences and vision that we have for the future of America.

I hope that the president will find time from his busy schedule to be out on the campaign trail with me. And I will be very privileged to have the opportunity of being again on the campaign trail with him, only slightly different roles this time.

I thank you, Mr. President, and it's a pleasure.

BUSH: Yes. We'll answer a couple of questions.

Abramowitz. Sorry you got such a lousy seat back there, you know?

MICHAEL ABRAMOWITZ, "WASHINGTON POST": The voters, according to a lot of the exit polls, seem to be thirsting for change this year. And I'd like to ask both of you -- excuse me -- I'd like to ask both of you how the Republican Party, which has been here for eight years, is going to make the case that you're going to provide the change that the voters seem to want, both on Iraq and on the economy.

BUSH: Let me start off by saying that in 2000, I said, "Vote for me, I'm an agent of change." In 2004, I said, "I'm not interested in change. I want to continue as president." Every candidate has got to say change. That's what the American people expect.

And the good news about our candidate, is there will be a new president, a man of character and courage, but he's not going to change when it comes to taking on the enemy. He understands this is a dangerous world.

And I understand we better have steadfast leadership who's got the courage and determination to pursue this enemy so as to protect America. John McCain will find out when he takes the oath of office his most important responsibility is to protect the American people from harm. There's still an enemy that lurks. An enemy that wants to strike us. And this country better have somebody in that Oval Office who understands the stakes. And John McCain understands those stakes.

MCCAIN: Thank you, sir. I don't have anything to add.

ABRAMOWITZ: Can I follow up?

BUSH: No, you can't follow up. Thank you.

QUESTION: Want to...

BUSH: No, not you. Want to call Kelly? Kelly.

QUESTION: Senator -- Senator McCain...

BUSH: Ask Kelly.

QUESTION: ... given President Bush's low approval ratings, will this be a negative or a positive for you? And how much do you hope he'll campaign for you the trail?

MCCAIN: I hope that he'll campaign for me as much as is in keeping with his busy schedule. I'll be pleased to have him with me, both from raising money and the much needed finances for the campaign and addressing the challenging issues that face this country. I'm pleased to have him as is -- as it fits into his busy schedule -- Kelly.

QUESTION: Mr. President, Senator McCain, sir, how would you counsel Senator McCain to choose a running mate? How quickly? And, given the fact that Democrats will field a nominee who will make some kind of history, a woman, an African-American, should Republicans consider that in selecting a vice-presidential nominee?

BUSH: I tell him to be careful about who he names to be the head of the selection committee.

Look, he's got plenty of experience. He knows what he needs to do, which is to have a process that, you know, vets candidates, and a person, you know, somebody has got to be comfortable with and somebody whose advice he relies upon. And he can answer his own question on that. But...

MCCAIN: Could I just say, Kelly, I didn't think it was appropriate to contemplate this process, as I've discussed before, until after we had secured the nomination of the party. Now we'll begin that process.

QUESTION: Should history make a difference with a woman or an African-American on the Democratic side?

BUSH: People don't vote for vice presidents, as much as I hate to say that, for those who have been candidates for vice president. They'll vote for who gets to sit inside that Oval Office and make decisions on how to protect the country and keep taxes low; how to have a culture that respects the dignity of every human being. And that's what the race is all about.

I know there's going to be a lot of speculation on who the vice president, this and that. But the speculation is over about who our party is going to nominate -- Liz.

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you -- how much do you intend to do for Senator McCain? And do you think, in some cases, that your help could actually hurt him more than help him?

BUSH: Look, if by showing up and endorsing him helps him or if I'm against him and it helps him, either way I want him to win.

Look, this is the age-old question that every president has had to answer. And there's an appropriate amount of campaigning for me to do. But they're not going to be voting for me. I've had my time in the Oval Office. It's been a fabulous experience, by the way. And they're going to be voting for the next person to come in here and make the tough decisions about America: America's security, America's prosperity, and, you know, America's hopefulness. That's what this race is about. And it's not about me.

You know, I've done my bit. And by the way, I'm not through. And I'm going to do a lot. And John's right; I do have a day job to keep. And I plan on keeping it. I told the people that follow me in this press corps that I'm going to sprint to the finish. And I mean what I say. I've got a lot to do.

But I'm going to find ample time to help. And I'm going to be raising money. And if he wants my pretty face standing by his side at one of these rallies, I'll be glad to show up. But they're not there -- they're going to be looking at him, you know. I'm going to be in Crawford with my feet up. He's going to be sitting in there behind that desk making decisions on war and peace.

And I'm thankful our party has nominated somebody plenty capable on making those decisions. And when the American people take a hard look, they're going to feel comfortable, like I feel comfortable, in recommending him to take my place.

Listen, we thank you -- Wolf, where's Wolf? No, I'm not calling you. Wolf? No, not you either. Where's Wolf? Well, ask something, will you?

QUESTION: Where do you think you can be most helpful campaigning for him around the country?

BUSH: You know, look, as I told you, if he wants me to show up, I will. If he wants me to say, you know, I'm not for him, I will. Whatever he wants me to do, I want him to win. And you know, I don't know -- look...

QUESTION: Can I start out with...

BUSH: I'm focusing on, you know, protecting America and succeeding in Iraq, and dealing with the North Koreans, and dealing with the Iranians and dealing with the issues around the world where we're making a difference in terms of keeping peace. I want to get this in as good a position as possible so that, when John McCain is the president -- and he will be -- he can deal with these issues in a way that yields peace.

MCCAIN: Wolf, could I say, one state springs to mind, Texas.

BUSH: They're not going to need me in Texas; it's going to be a landslide in Texas.

MCCAIN: Could I just say that I do intend to campaign all across the country. I think that literally every section of this country is in play. And I will be glad to have the president with me in keeping with his schedule, in any part of America. And we're going to go everywhere in America with this campaign.

BUSH: Listen, thank you all very much for coming.

QUESTION: Would you call (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for vice president?

QUESTION: One press conference every week if you're elected, senator?

BUSH: Thank you all very much. It's been a pleasure to see you. Obviously, we've invited some unruly members of the Fourth Estate here. I'm disappointed in the conduct of some of the people that have come. I told John it would be a nice and polite crowd. Thank you all very much.

QUESTION: Congratulations. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) LEMON: That was certainly very -- one of the most interesting press conferences I've seen. They must have had a really lively lunch. Both gentlemen there smiling. The president was a little rambunctious, don't you think, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Candid. He's known for his candor.

LEMON: Yes, he's known for that.

What was interesting, that over a number of times, what came up was, is the president going to go out on the campaign trail and campaign for John McCain? And people are saying that it may not be the right thing to do because of the president's approval ratings at this point.

WHITFIELD: Except it looks like a resounding yes.

LEMON: If he wants him there, then...

WHITFIELD: He will be out there campaigning. We know that John McCain could use the money. President Bush expects to be one who could help really pull in, you know, some of the millions that John McCain may need now in this stage of the race.

LEMON: And I've got to say the president seemed even more -- even more confident than John McCain. He's like, "He's not going to need my help in Texas. It's going to be a landslide." So the president is, at least, very confident about that.

WHITFIELD: Elaine Quijano is there at the White House.

Elaine, you know, there are a lot of things in which to touch on. But let's talk about, you know, the power of the sitting president and how he really can help in the fundraising efforts of John McCain, even though there's been, I guess, a real effort from John McCain's camp to kind of distance himself from this Bush presidency. Well, now it kind of all comes together. So will it hurt or will it help?

QUIJANO: Yes, I think the answer to that is yes and no, perhaps. It depends. You know, it remains to be seen exactly how much of a role President Bush is going to have in the campaigning, when it comes to the general election. Now, obviously, Democrats are already trying to paint a vote for John McCain as a vote for another term for President Bush.

We heard President Bush today essentially say, "Look, I understand my role here," that a vote for John McCain should be a vote for John McCain. President Bush also saying, point blank, "Look, this is not about me," pushing back against Democrats' arguments that John McCain is not his own man.

The president tried to turn very quickly to national security. These are back-to-Republican-basics messages: national security, keeping taxes low. And we also heard him talk about the importance of a pro-life (ph), essentially, issues.

So President Bush obviously using the trappings of his office to roll the red carpet out for John McCain today -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Elaine Quijano, thanks so much. We'll be checking back with you. There's still a whole lot to talk about, all that was revealed in that Rose Garden meeting. Thanks so much.

LEMON: So we saw the Republican side just now in the Rose Garden. What about the Democratic side? The gloves come off when a prominent husband and wife talk politics.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR: That's a bunch of hot air. It is good.

REV. MARCIA DYSON, PASTOR: That's what you use a lot (ph)...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: You know what? Hot air fuels balloons and flies planes, but it doesn't get you into the White House. Look...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's your wife, man.


LEMON: The dueling Dysons face off over the Democratic presidential race. She's for Clinton, he's for Obama.


WHITFIELD: Cleaning up after the storms. Two tornadoes touched down in West Central Alabama, yesterday. One home was destroyed; 29 more were damaged in Greene County. And in neighboring Tuscaloosa County, seven families are picking up the pieces.

The fierce winds blew down a lot of trees in South Carolina, mostly upstate. Look at the damage there. Fifteen homes damaged. But no one, thankfully, was seriously hurt.

More trees were down across North Carolina, as well. Heavy rains have prompted flood warnings across the southwestern part of that state.

LEMON: Well, further north -- farther north, snow and icy rain are causing all sorts of headaches. And even CNN meteorologists aren't immune. I know that's not you, Chad Myers. Are we talking about the infamous Reynolds Wolf? He's stuck?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. He's stuck. He tried to get out of there yesterday. And I was e-mailing him back and forth on his BlackBerry. And it's like, "Dude, you need -- there's not a plane in the sky out of Cleveland. You're in trouble."

LEMON: Find a nice hotel and relax. You're going to be there. He can do, like, phoners for us. Is he still there?

MYERS: He's still on the tarmac, actually. He's in a deicing line right now. And they said it could be an hour to hour and a half, maybe up to two before all the planes in line actually get deiced. And people in Minneapolis are laughing at that.

LEMON: If you talk to him, tell him we love our i-Reporters.


LEMON: Send us an i-Report. We will share it.

MYERS: Yes. Take the camera phone and put it back and show everybody's frustration in the back of you.

Anyway, back to Minneapolis, man, they take these planes for deicing out of Minneapolis, and they run them, like, through a car wash. They have these -- the trucks are on the side of the tarmac. They drive them right through. They take them off to the end and they take off. So a two-hour delay for deicing in Minneapolis would be laughable. But anyway, they've got to do what they've got to do.


MYERS: Hey, you know what? We've got to move our clocks.

LEMON: Oh, that's this weekend, right?

MYERS: Coming up. Coming up, yes.

LEMON: Spring forward, fall back -- we're a little bit early, though, aren't we?

MYERS: Yes. It seems it.

LEMON: It's like a week or two early.

WHITFIELD: That means change the batteries on the smoke detectors in the home, too.

MYERS: Absolutely.

LEMON: And see here, Fred. She's got you covered here.

WHITFIELD: Helpful hints.

LEMON: Possibly get a NOAA weather radio, Chad?

MYERS: Would love it. Would love to see people get that.


MYERS: Really neat, with those battery backups for midnight outages. You can't get the warnings. That little radio will save your life.


LEMON: Good advice here. OK, thank you, sir.

MYERS: You're welcome. WHITFIELD: All right. Right now, 30 minutes after the hour. Here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Still no word on what caused eight passengers on a flight from the Dominican Republican to Canada to get sick. The plane was diverted to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last night after they complained. Federal health officials say the passengers apparently were not contagious.

And could even more job cuts be on the way at Pfizer? The drug maker said it plans to outsource more of its drug making as part of a massive cost-cutting plan, Pfizer is bracing for 2010, when the patent on its top-selling drug Lipitor expires, forcing the drug to compete with lower-cost generics.

And an ongoing crisis in South America sparks diplomatic meetings in Washington. Diplomats are resuming their session today after a marathon sit-down that lasted into the early morning hours. Tensions have ramped up in South America after Colombia's attack on rebels inside Ecuador.

LEMON: OK, Fred, husband and wife, split by the Democratic race for president.

WHITFIELD: That sounds familiar.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR: That's a bunch of hot air. It is good.

REV. MARCIA DYSON, PASTOR: That's what you use a lot (ph)...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: You know what? Hot air fuels balloons and flies planes, but it doesn't get you into the White House. Look...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's your wife, man.


LEMON: OK. And after last night's contest, the twists and turns with that, well, this was yesterday we had them on. They're even more fired up today.


LEMON: Wait until you see.


WHITFIELD: All right. It's another record-setting day on Wall Street. The price of oil continues to climb, topping $104 a barrel for the first time. Really, that's nothing to smile about.

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with a look at what exactly is fueling the increase. Does there have to be a reason? It just seems to go up anyway.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of factors at work today, Fred. Just a few months ago, remember, we used to talk about all-time highs for the Dow. Well, this year we're talking about all-time highs for oil.

Oil prices climbing as high as $104.56 a barrel, a new intra-day high. Since the beginning of last year, crude has soared more than 70 percent.

Several factors at work today. First, OPEC decided not to boost output. Instead the cartel says a weakening U.S. economy should help to drive down demand in the near term and thus, prices. We haven't seen it so far.

But as the economy weakens, the value of the dollar continues to fall overseas. Investors then bid up commodities, traded in dollars like oil because they get more bang for their buck. And that's what's happening today, as the euro climbed to an all-time high, above $1.53 against the dollar.

Also supporting prices today, a new government report showing crude oil supplies actually fell last week. Wall Street as expecting an increase.

That's putting some pressure on the major averages. The Dow had registered triple-digit gains. They've just, in the last few moments, vanished, down. Blue chips down 49 points. The NASDAQ and the S&P have followed suit. They held in there all morning, but not all of the afternoon, clearly, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow. All right, Susan, and now incentive out there to be a better driver. Because it's going to cost you more to get in that car crash. Explain.

LISOVICZ: That's right. There's no price tag, of course, you know, for injuries.


LISOVICZ: I mean, that's just something that you can't put a dollar -- a dollar tag on. But what you can do is some of the other things that come with it.

A new AAA report shows traffic crashes cost motorists more $160 billion a year. The study takes into account things like property damage -- right, your car -- lost wages, medical costs and emergency service. All told, AAA says crashes cost us more than $1,000 a person.

People in big cities, not surprisingly, get hit hard with the cost. But the study shows even smaller cities like, say, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Pensacola, Florida, pay even more, around $2,000 per person. Yow.

Be a better driver for your health and the health...

WHITFIELD: That's right. And for your wallet.

LISOVICZ: ... and for -- that's right, the health of your wallet, too.


LISOVICZ: Coming up next hour, how a growing number of Americans are resolving their financial woes. It's the drastic step, and it's rising.

Fred, Don, back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Susan.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.


LEMON: Well, the United States has a huge stake in Iraq, Fredricka. Do Iraqis care how the American presidential race, how that race will turn out? We'll find out from our Kyra Phillips what they're saying on the streets of Baghdad.


WHITFIELD: All right. Sound familiar? A day after and still no definitive outcome in the Texas caucus. And so the counting has resumed today, even though Hillary Clinton clinched the primary in Texas. Barack Obama has been retaining sort of a four-point lead in the Texas caucus.

But of course anything can happen, and we will continue to keep you posted. You can watch the numbers at the bottom of your screen. As you get real definitive answers about the Texas caucus, we'll bring that to you.

LEMON: Well, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee gets a presidential endorsement. It happened just a few minutes ago, and it tops our political ticker today.

President Bush endorsed John McCain at the White House. The two were bitter primary rivals back in 2000 and have since clashed on a number of big issues. But the White House says it's time to put their differences behind him.

Well, he played the bass, had Chuck Norris as a sidekick, and racked up some big primary wins. Not, though, Republican Mike Huckabee -- now, though, Republican Mike Huckabee has dropped out -- his bid for president, urging his supporters to back John McCain in November. The former preacher had been McCain's last major rival for the GOP nomination.

WHITFIELD: Well, they're not viable presidential candidates anymore, but Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul still managed to chalk up wins last night. Kucinich won a five-way Democratic congressional primary in Ohio over some of his stiffest competition yet. A win in November would give him his seventh term.

And Ron Paul easily won his Republican primary in Texas. The ten-term congressman is still officially in the presidential race, even though he got only 5 percent of the presidential vote in his home state.

All of the latest campaign news is available right at your fingertips. Just go to Plus analysis from the best political team on television. That and more at

LEMON: All right. Sit down, everyone. Get your popcorn. Oh, my gosh.

They live under the same roof. The sit down to dinner together every day, when they're not traveling. And they share some things that most couples do, including -- including passionate debates over politics. The Reverend Marcia Dyson supports Hillary Clinton. Her husband, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, well, he backs Barack Obama.

They joined us yesterday. And in light of what happened last night, we invited them back.


MARCIA DYSON: She's always been concerned about foreign policy. But you can ask people in Katrina if that was just about foreign policy. She would not be shopping for shoes; she would be by the phone, 24, 365, seven days a week. That is not about terrorism. That is about economic terrorism.

LEMON: Your husband, he seems like a really wounded man today. Today, he's...


LEMON: You know...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Let me tell you what happened. First of all, I congratulate Senator Clinton.

MARCIA DYSON: Thank you.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: And Reverend Dyson and her camp. Secondly, let's roll our sleeves up and get back to work. Thirdly, I've never seen Mrs. Clinton engage in a situation where she's had to answer that red phone. Getting up at 3 a.m. to help your family is one thing. Getting up to help the American family is another.

Furthermore, I think what's very important here is that, you know, Reverend Dyson said she bridged the gap between the African- Americans and the others.

I think Barack Obama took huge amounts of African-American votes. He certainly will be, I think, worthy of contesting for white working- class and black working-class votes in Pennsylvania in the remaining states. And I think what we have to do now is to go forward.

I think playing to the politics of fear with the red phone ad is something we've learned from...

LEMON: Michael, he's got to come off -- he's got to be stronger now.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Well, there's no question. Listen, there's no question we want to be stronger. We don't want to play -- we don't want to play the politics of invidious, vicious assault that it seems to be.

MARCIA DYSON: Yes, so you know what?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Let me finish now. I didn't interrupt you.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: On the other side of the aisle, what seems to be here now, Bill Clinton himself said with -- with Mayor John Street from Philadelphia in the background, if you play to the politics of fear and hope, the politics of hope will ultimately win out.

We think that President Bill Clinton is right, that we will not play to politics of fear. We will not push into people's face the notion that all of a sudden Barack Obama is not ready.

MARCIA DYSON: Dr. Dyson, that's because...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Hillary Clinton has not done anything to suggest that she's any more prepared than Barack Obama to answer that call.

MARCIA DYSON: Michael -- Michael, you know that -- you know what they said about mothers. We got children, and we ain't scared. And we know how it is like to be woken up in the middle of the night.

And who said that, just because the media and you guys seem to think that that ad is about the being negative, it's about the being positive. It is about you can rest calmly. It's not there to disturb. It's there to stir calmness, because she is in control. She will absorb that shock, which obviously, she has been able to as the first lady.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Well, obviously, her -- her...

MARCIA DYSON: And you cannot dismiss that. And another thing that this camp...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Let me finish this.

MARCIA DYSON: No. Another thing that this race has proved...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: No. Wait a minute. We're not at the crib now. We got Don Lemon here. MARCIA DYSON: No, no, no. You always want in. No, no. You had your point. You cannot interject. Whatever Bill said is fine. But at this point, what this campaign has proven, after the wins yesterday, that this is Hillary Clinton's campaign.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Let me say this.

MARCIA DYSON: You know what? Just like you can't tell me...

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: OK. Let me finish this. Hold on. Let me finish.

LEMON: This is going to be the last comment, last comment.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: I'm not saying it's Bill Clinton's campaign. I know it's Hillary Clinton's campaign, and I give her kudos. But I'm saying to you we have decided in the Obama campaign to try the politics of a new American compact, which does not rest upon or predicated upon fear or driving into the American consciousness the belief that one is not ready. We are saying we're playing a positive role. Barack Obama is ready. He's one so many in a row.

MARCIA DYSON: And so has Hillary.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Congratulations to you. You will not prevail.

LEMON: Reverend Dyson...

MARCIA DYSON: You're trying -- you're trying "I spy." She's trying I have -- I have been...

LEMON: Hold it. Reverend Marcia Dyson and Michael Eric Dyson, both of you, thank you. And I'm available, $75 an hour, to come to your house and negotiate.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Well, see, we ain't been together in a long time. So obviously, this campaign is driving a wedge into the relationship. I hope we can recover.

LEMON: All right. I hope you guys can, too. Thank you both.


WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. Talk about candid.


WHITFIELD: Woo! That's a fiery household.

All right. People around the world are vitally interested in the results of the American presidential election, as well. But how much are they able to follow the race in hot spots like Gaza and Iraq? Some reaction now from our Ben Wedeman and Kyra Phillips. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman in the northern Gaza Strip where, in quieter times, people might be watching the twists and turns of the American elections, but these are not quiet times.

In the last week more than 100 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, have been killed in Israeli military operations aimed at stopping rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

And even if there wasn't so much violence, they have other things to contend with: power cuts, fuel shortages, food shortages. People here know that the American elections matter to them. But they simply don't have the time to watch.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kyra Phillips in Baghdad. Back in America, the battle is raging among the contenders in the primary. But are Iraqis talking about it as much? Do they care? Are they even following who's running for president? We went out onto the streets to find out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have been following the elections, but I see no credibility in it. It's just propaganda. It does not reflect our reality here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am following the elections from state to state, specifically Obama and Clinton. I want to know the next American presidential agenda.

PHILLIPS: Whoever wins this election, the next president, will no doubt inherit this controversial and very unpopular war.


WHITFIELD: And in our next hour, we'll find out what people are saying about the latest U.S. election results in Kenya, Iran and Spain.

LEMON: And as we reported moments ago, Texas has resumed counting last -- in last night's caucuses. More in a live report from our Suzanne Malveaux, who is in Texas. And she's part of the best political team on television.


LEMON: Want to make medicine work better? Well, just jack up the price.

Duke University and MIT University researchers found test patients responded much better to a phony painkiller that they believed cost more than a cheap alternative. The numbers are huge. Eighty-five percent of volunteers who believed their pills were expensive says they worked better. In fact, everyone was given placebos, sugar tablets, with no medicine at all.

What does it all mean? Well, subconsciously, we believe we get what we pay for.

WHITFIELD: OK. Combined hormone replacement therapy, it was a trial program stopped years ago over health concerns among women who took part. So the health concerns should have stopped as well, right? Not so fast.

A study in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" cites evidence that the risk of some cancers, especially breast cancer, remains even years after hormone replacement are stopped. The increased risk of strokes, serious blood clots and heart attacks does seem to disappear within a couple years of stopping the therapy.

LEMON: It is a kid's TV show that reminds children it is OK to play, kind of like "Sesame Street." This one, though, is in a war zone.


LEMON: Time to see what's hot at

Pleas for help. Palm Beach County, Florida, authorities released terrifying calls to 911 as a gunman shot up a Wendy's fast food restaurant. The gunman killed one and wounded four before killing himself.

And back from the dead, a Jacksonville, Florida, teen is still trying to grasp being medically dead for several minutes. A lacrosse ball hit him in the chest, causing a rare crisis with his heart. He says he'll be back playing lacrosse, as soon as he gets the all-clear from doctors.

And emergency landing. Eight people were rushed to a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after getting sick on a flight from the Dominican Republic to Canada.

You can link to all of these top ten lists from our front page, right at


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They are deprived of parks, city sports and their hobbies. I'm just trying to give them something normal.


WHITFIELD: His show is just for kids, one place where they can escape the war. Our own Kyra Phillips is standing by in Baghdad with that story.


LEMON: Many said it would be over by now, but you can consider this the first day of the rest of the Democratic race for president.