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Democrats Consider Do-Over; Clinton and Obama Look Next to Pennsylvania; Small Explosion in Times Square; U.C. Davis Student Arrested; Russian Arms Dealer Captured in Thailand

Aired March 06, 2008 - 10:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what's on the rundown.
A military recruiting office targeted in Times Square a short time ago, new details about the explosion from New York's mayor.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Their delegates disqualified. Now, with a tight fight for the nomination, Democrats consider a do-over in Florida and Michigan.

HARRIS: And Baghdad's only school for blind children, some of these students are real characters. Kyra Phillips live from Iraq today, Thursday, March 6th.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: A small explosion and big fallout in New York Times Square this morning. There are no injuries reported and damage is minor. The device is described as a low-order explosive.

But people in and nearby hotel reported feeling the blast, dozens of stories. Traffic is again flowing though. The search for a suspect continues. Just a few minutes ago, right here in the NEWSROOM, we did hear from New York police officials and the city's mayor.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: There was a bicyclist here earlier that somebody said acted suspiciously. Those are the facts that we know. There is no evidence of any connection to anybody else, but that's all we know and we don't want to get ahead of the story here. We'll only tell you what we know and we're not in the business of speculating.


COLLINS: The explosion happened around 4:00 a.m. local time. Authorities quickly cordoned off the area and subways were allowed to pass through on their normal route but were not allowed to stop. Traffic later returned to normal just before rush hour. The FBI is investigating. Officials with homeland security are monitoring those developments.

HARRIS: A do-over debate in the battle for Democratic delegates. That tops our presidential election coverage this morning. Voters in Florida and Michigan have already gone to the polls. But for Democrats, the votes didn't count. The Democratic Party stripped the states of their convention delegates after they violated party rules by moving up their primaries.

Now, officials in Florida and Michigan are calling for their voters to have a voice. The debate fueled by the tight fight for delegates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. One suggestion, the states hold repeat primaries. There's the possibility of 210 delegates up for grabs in Florida and 156 in Michigan.

COLLINS: Florida's Republican governor helping lead the charge to let the state's Democratic voters have their say. Governor Charlie Crist made his case on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."


GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (R), FLORIDA: The argument that Governor Granholm of Michigan and myself are making is the people of our respective states voted. They cast that precious right. They made their voice heard. Those delegates who represent them should be seated at both conventions.

This is not just a Democratic issue, it's a Republican issue. The Democratic Party has said that none of the Democratic delegates from Florida will be seated and the Republican has said only half the Republicans will be seated. We want them all to be seated.


COLLINS: But the head of the Democratic national committee said Florida and Michigan broke the rules and they have to face the consequences.


HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The fact of the matter is you cannot violate the rules of the process and expect to get forgiven for it. What happens here has a big affect on what happens at the nominating convention.

It could determine, as you pointed out, the nominee. You've got to play by the rules. If you don't, then the half of the people in the Democratic Party whose candidate does not win this nomination is going to go away believing they've been seated.


COLLINS: Still, Howard Dean says the states are free to come up with a new plan to choose delegates but then there's the issue of who would pay for new elections. Both the states and Democratic Party officials saying don't send us the bill. We'll take a closer look at this issue including the potential legal challenges coming up in about 30 minutes from now right here in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: OK. Take a look at live pictures coming into the CNN NEWSROOM right now from Davis, California. We understand, here's the story here. A student at U.C. Davis is in custody after authorities say they found explosive devices in a dorm room. Four hundred students in eight dormitory buildings were evacuated last night about 9:00 p.m. local time after reports from a woman who reported students with possible explosive devices in a room. Again, the news this morning is that a U.C. Davis student is in custody.

Police say after questioning four students they arrested 19- year-old Mark Woods. He's a freshman from Torrance and he is being held on suspicion of materials with the intent to make an explosive or destructive device and other charges. We will continue to follow this story. As you can see authorities are on the scene. The fire department on the location as well. We will continue to follow this and bring you a late-breaking developments as we get them here in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: In the meantime, caucus chaos. We're still waiting for results from Tuesday's caucuses in Texas. We've got the story now from CNN's Ed Lavandera.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say one more time, clear this airway now! Move!

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police officers were called in to this Houston school to control the crowds, frustrated voters who waited until 3:00 in the morning, eight hours to finish the caucus.

ROSITA BROUSSARD, TEXAS VOTER: We all feel that our vote doesn't count and they're not worried about our vote.

LAVANDERA: Across Texas there were scenes of chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got people walking off and leaving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disorganized and people are getting frustrated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not right. Alternate one. No, that's not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The process is extremely confusing. No one seems to be in charge.

LAVANDERA: Clinton and Obama supporters also accusing each other of playing games with caucus rules.

TRACEY CARTER, TEXAS VOTER: They told us at first to just -- it wasn't enough writing material, so just sign your name and then you're free to go. And then after people had signed their names and they had left, then we get someone else that comes in and says, OK, if you leave, then your vote doesn't count.

LAVANDERA: Then there's the story behind these pictures, a Clinton supporting precinct captain leaving a caucus site with sign-in sheets. But several witnesses claim she refused to take 27 sheets with Obama supporter signatures. That's when Dallas Democratic chairwoman Darlene Ewing was called in.

DARLENE EWING, DALLAS CO. DEMOCRATIC CHAIRWOMAN: It kind of got into a chase, a little bit of a car chase over the signing-in sheets.

LAVANDERA: A car chase?

EWING: They all ended up at the police station. They called us. We went out this morning at 1:00 and took possession of the paperwork.

LAVANDERA: Texas Democratic officials say several incidents of voter fraud will probably be investigated but these were isolated incidents. Especially considering there were more than 8,000 caucus sites statewide.

HECTOR NIETO, TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY: When you put a million people across the state into caucuses, of course you're going to have some problems.


COLLINS: Ed Lavandera joining us now live from Dallas.

Ed, any idea when we might get a final result out of these caucuses?

LAVANDERA: Well you know from across the state precinct captains and the Democratic Party is still sending in these sign-in sheets and they're being counted. 40 percent of them have been counted so far. We're told that they expect more to continue in today.

We hope at some point later today there will be some sort of final tally. Of course, both sides are declaring victory. The Obama campaign said even though they lost the popular vote, they expect to be about five delegates ahead of the Clinton campaign after everything is said and done. Of course, the Clinton campaign is saying, not so fast.

COLLINS: That's shocking, isn't it? CNN's Ed Lavandera for us in Dallas. Thank you, Ed.

And you know, the stakes couldn't be higher for the remaining primaries. That's why you should stay with CNN. You can track the results as they come in minute by minute, state by state, any time at Plus, analysis from the best political team on television. That and more at

HARRIS: Then there's this story. A Russian arms dealer suspected of selling weapons to al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militants is under arrest in Thailand. Intelligence agencies around the world have been tracking Viktor Bout for years.

Officials say he shipped small arms to civil wars across Africa and Asia and was often paid in diamonds. In a 2000 interview with CNN, Boot denied doing anything illegal or being paid in so called blood diamonds from Africa. We expect to learn more about the arrest during a formal announcement later today in New York.


COLLINS: Bad timing, fumbled play. A closer look at what went wrong for Barack Obama. It's ahead right here in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Welcome back everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A soldier surprises his son. This shy five-year-old keeps it low key.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your daddy? And where's your daddy been?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iraq? For how long, do you know?

COLLINS: Home from war. The reunion, coming up.



HARRIS: The Obama campaign hits a speed bump Texas and Ohio. What went wrong?

Here's CNN's Candy Crowley, part of the best political team on television.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The Obama campaign responded with lightning speed to Clinton's phone ad suggesting he does haven't the credentials to manage a crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When that call gets answered shouldn't the president be the one, the only one, who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start?

CROWLEY: It was not enough. His campaign suggests now Obama will toughen it up, not just tout his credentials but go after hers.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In fact, Senator Clinton hasn't cited any particular experience that makes her prepared to make that -- to make that call.

CROWLEY: Still, the March 4th tea leaves suggest the self- inflicted wound cut the deepest. That NAFTA memo suggesting Obama doesn't really mean his criticism of the free trade deal was bad enough. But this, denial of the story before the memo surfaced, made it worse.

OBAMA: The Canadian government put out a statement indicating that this was not true. So I don't know who their sources are. It wasn't true.

CROWLEY: But the memo proved the meeting did take place. At best, Obama staff failed him. At worse, it's the Washington double- speak he rails against and a double whammy casting doubt on the core of the Obama campaign and his free trade rhetoric.

On the same day the trade memo blew up, a long-time supporter went on trial for corruption and bribery of public officials. There are no accusations of wrongdoing by Obama but there are unanswered questions that made for a very messy news conference less than 24 hours before the Texas Ohio primaries. The three-day period before the primaries proved to be the roughest, costliest, of Barack Obama's campaign.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: And Senator Hillary Clinton going for the jugular. A look at what went right for her in Texas and Ohio, ahead in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: A father on leave from Iraq surprises his son at school. These reunions usually generate shock and squeals. But watch this little guy.

Here's Shanisty Myers of WTAP.


SHANISTY MYERS, WTAP CORRESPONDENT: For 5-year-old C.J. Myers it was just an ordinary day. But little did he know, the surprise of a lifetime was waiting outside his kindergarten classroom door.

There wasn't a dry eye in the room for this heartwarming reunion between soldier and son. Tell me who's here.


S. MYERS: Your daddy. Where has your daddy been?

C. MYERS: Iraq.

S. MYERS: Iraq, how long, do you know?

Sergeant Christopher Myers is stationed in Iraq. The reunion was the first time he had seen his little boy since September. But for a 5-year-old, it felt like a lifetime. LESLIE MYERS, HUSBAND HOME ON LEAVE: I thought it would be something special for C.J. since his birthday is coming up to have a little extra surprise.

S. MYERS: C.J.'s mother Leslie said C.J. hears stories about his hero father who is fighting in the war.

L. MYERS: He knows that daddy's in Iraq and what he's doing and he has the pillow that has daddy's picture on it that he goes and talks to and carries and sleeps with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm proud to death of him.

S. MYERS: What about your grandson?


S. MYERS: For the Myers family, the emotional homecoming is one they will never forget. And for C.J., his day turned out to be anything but ordinary when this hero dad gave his little soldier the surprise of a lifetime.

L. MYERS: Hug him tight. There you go.


HARRIS: Are you OK?

COLLINS: I'm good.

HARRIS: You don't handle these stories well.

COLLINS: I don't.

Sergeant Myers is home for 15 days but it is just enough time to help his son celebrate his sixth birthday. A lot to take in.

HARRIS: I'm looking for a tissue or something.

COLLINS: I'm good.

HARRIS: You all right?

COLLINS: I'm good.

HARRIS: OK. Still to come, cracking up our Kyra Phillips.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three.


HARRIS: Pretty good for us back here at the ranch, too. Blind in a war zone but seeing hope for the future.

COLLINS: And how low will they go? Interest rates are down and a homeowner question rises up. Is now the time to refinance?


HARRIS: What do you say we get you to the New York Stock Exchange? OK, let's go away. Check out the numbers on the big board. Look at this. We're inside the first hour of the trading day. There is clearly time for a turn around here and a bit of a rebound.

But the Dow down 114 points. What is going on here? We closed up 41 points yesterday. An hour into the trading day and we're down 119 points. Sure, there are worrying signs out there. $105 a barrel for oil. The euro continuing to clobber the dollar.

What is going on here? Where is Susan Lisovicz? I want Susan right now, Heidi, in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: She's e-mailing me. She's there. She's prepared.

HARRIS: I want to know what's going on here. Sara, I forgot about the NASDAQ. What's the number on the NASDAQ? Down eight. All right. We are going to check the markets. What's going on here with Susan Lisovicz right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Interest rates on 30-year mortgages are down and mortgage applications are up. Does that mean it's time to refinance?

CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis has all of the answers for everyone and everyone is watching because they really want some answers, Gerri.

What does make refinancing so attractive right now?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: You know the stock market is not the only thing that's down. The big headline here for consumers is that interest rates on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage are at historic lows, below six percent.

Cast your mind back for a second. Back in the 1980s rates were at 15 percent and 16 percent, the long-term average, eight percent. If you're one of these folks that has an adjustable rate mortgage that is a mess right now and you want to stay in your house for a while, say two to three years, you can benefit right now from refinancing.

COLLINS: What kind of credit do you need in order to do that?

WILLIS: The devil's in the details. Banks right now they want to loan money to people with really, really good credit. In fact, they're insisting on it, according to experts we talked to. Some lenders want scores of 680. Others will only consider people with credit scores above 720. It really depends on where you are in the country.

If you do have excellent credit, take advantage of the products for you. If you want to refi, negotiate with your lender. You have leverage right now, especially if you refinance with a lender who holds your original mortgage. If you can, also think about taking out a home equity line of credit right now. You don't have to tap into it but it's a nice thing to have in an emergency.

COLLINS: Sure. But what's going on with jumbo loans? There's at least temporary changes going on in that area, right?

WILLIS: There are. This has been a troubled market. Jumbo loans typically has been mortgage for more than $417,000. Now, as part of the economic stimulus bill signed by the president, the limit for these mortgages is changing.

Right now the high could be 729,750. But the reality is it's different for different parts of the country. Go to to get the details. They were publishing it yesterday and today you can find out what that new limit is.

This has been a tough area because lenders are reluctant to back these loans. If that is a reality, it means you may have to be able to get a lower interest rate on a jumbo loan. That's really good news.

If you bought a no-income jumbo loan and your credit score has improved and you're able to provide tax returns you might be able to get what they call a full income jumbo loan and that will be cheaper for you. The rate will be lower. It's time to really investigate and take some action.

COLLINS: Absolutely. That has become very clear over the last several months. What advice do you have though for the first-time home buyer caught up in all of this right now?

WILLIS: Hey, home prices, they're at their lowest they've been since 2004. That's according to a report from National Citicorp. Price declines and improved affordability during the last three months of 2007. It's what's going on.

If you've been on the sidelines wondering whether to invest in this turbulent market, it's time to start doing some research. You can't really time the bottom here but it makes sense to start investigating if you really want to buy.

COLLINS: The good news is, all of this information and much, much more can be found in this fabulous book.

HARRIS: There's a book?

COLLINS: Yes, look at that. Who is that on the cover?

WILLIS: I love you, guys.

HARRIS: The lovely Gerri Willis. Wow!

COLLINS: "Home Rich," people can check it out. There's fantastic information in there. If you had a take-away to tell us about from the book, what would it be?

WILLIS: Get the right loan. How you finance your home, your castle, it really, really matters. In the book I describe all the loans out there that you're probably going to encounter. What to watch out for, and the important questions to ask your mortgage broker and your mortgage lender.

COLLINS: All right. Gerri Willis, our personal finance editor, thank you, Gerri. Good to see you.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

HARRIS: Are we getting a cut on book sales here?



COLLINS: Not a dime.

HARRIS: Time for renegotiation, don't you think?

What do you say we take a look at some of the most clicked on videos,, this morning.

Peoria, Arizona, a construction worker attacked by thousands of bees. He was stung close to 500 times in the neck and face. What do you think of firefighters did when they arrived to help the guy? Find out at

The phone rings in the middle of the night. Most people thank you it's an emergency, right? Nope. This one was from the county commissioner calling to ask for your vote on an important issue. 5,000 people were awakened. What does the commissioner have to say beyond oops? Find out at

And a budding young artist in England, his work is gaining popularity. One has recently sold for 1800 pounds. That's 3600 U.S. dollars. What makes this artist unique? Good question. Thank you for it. He's a rat named Tony Blair, by the way. Find out more at

And don't forget to download your CNN daily podcast. The CNN beautiful NEWSROOM podcast available to you 24/7 right there on your iPod.

COLLINS: Washington doing more than just worrying about Iran. Find out how the U.S. keeps a close eye on the Islamic republic here in the NEWSROOM.


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins and Tony Harris.

HARRIS: Bottom of the hour. Welcome back, everyone to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Keeping an eye on Iran, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr just back from a trip through the Persian Gulf with the region's top U.S. commander.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here among Dubai skyscrapers, there's a low-profile State Department office with a title you might not expect from the U.S. government, the Iran regional Presence Office. The U.S. has diplomats assigned to this office in Dubai just across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran aren't planning the overthrow of the Iranian regime, but they are keeping a close eye on developments inside Iran, and they are ready if the regime falls.

As the top commander for the Middle East Admiral William Fallon meets with counterparts regularly. Iran is topic No. 1.

ADM. WILLIAM FALLON, CMDR. U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: Everybody that I talk to is concerned about Iran and their intentions. They have seen the behaviors that we have observed, and they're nervous.

STARR: This is a region that values stability. Most Gulf nations now worry Iran could wreck that.

(on camera): But here in Oman there is a bit of a different point of view. Yes, there is skepticism about Iran, but many Omanis say in this part of the world it's important for everybody to get along.

(voice-over): Oman, like Dubai, has extensive economic relations with Iran. The U.S. continues to press Gulf allies to stop helping Iran finance illegal activities, but many Gulf nations, even with their security concerns, don't want to break relations with Tehran. One of the biggest worries, Iran's nuclear program.

FALLON: The issue is the way they're going about it, the uncertainty with enriched materials, and how one goes about generating nuclear power, and there are ways to do it.

STARR (on camera): There is a common theme among many Persian Gulf Nations. They say they don't know what Iran's intentions are, but they do not want another war in this region.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Dubai.


HARRIS: Living in a war zone like Baghdad. Tough enough for adults, but what if you're young and blind?

CNN's Kyra Phillips visited Baghdad's school for the blind, and she joins us from Baghdad.

All right, Kyra, I'm not going to give you a pass on this. We're talking a Baghdad here. This is a city in turmoil. You've got to be kidding me here. This is a school in name only. You are not about to tell me that there is real teaching and learning going on here, are you?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Tony, it was so inspiring. Pretty amazing. I know, imagine being blind, and on top of that, being blind in a war zone. And one of the teachers I got to know, Ammar Ali, he said to me, Tony, you know, when I was growing up, my parents didn't want me to use a walking stick.

They thought I'd look like an old man. They thought it handcuffs me. There really wasn't an understanding about the blind or education for the blind. So he decided he was going to go to school, he stayed strong, and he was going to come back and make a difference, war or not.


PHILLIPS (voice-over): As his delicate hands move across the braille, seven-year-old Saad (ph) learns how to read. This is the Al Noor Institute, Baghdad's only school for the blind. Its resources are scarce, but its impact is tremendous.

Ammar Ali was born blind. He graduated from here 11 years ago, got a bachelor's degree in English at Baghdad University and came back.

(on camera): How does that make you feel? I mean, you were a student here and now you teach here?

AMMAR ALI, TEACHER: Oh, it's -- it's kind of feeling that cannot be described. Really, really, it's a kind of happiness that cannot be described.

PHILLIPS: Are you share that happiness with these children?

ALI: Yes. yes, I feel myself with them.

My mother is Mrs. Brown.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: My mother is Mrs. Brown.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): And these kids feel themselves in Ammar.

I think 11-year-old Murtada is next. He tells me he wants to graduate college, too, and become a translator.

If you have any doubts, well, just listen to his mike check before our interview.

MURTADA: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.


PHILLIPS: Murtada may have been born blind, but to him, his gifts are quite clear. (on camera): Why are you so special?

"God gives me things and takes things away," Murtada tells me. "Even though I'm blind, God gave me cleverness. The lowest grade I've ever received is 85. And thanks be to God I succeed every semester."

These students have quite a courseload. They're learning braille, Arabic and English. As for history, they're living it.

(on camera): How do these kids imagine the war through sound?

ALI: Imagining things by sound, they also can feel the things as they hear it.

PHILLIPS: So how do they feel the war? How does it make them feel?

ALI: The blind people, from the very beginning, they have a great deal of difficulties, so the war adds a problem upon their problems.

PHILLIPS: So how are you helping them not only deal with being blind, but also being blind in a war zone?

ALI: I put all my experiences at their hand. I always tell them about how to behave well, how to be normal people.

PHILLIPS: And they love you.

ALI: Yes. As I love them all.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): And because of that love, all these kids see is possibility.


PHILLIPS: Now, Tony, unfortunately where this school is is a heavily militia controlled area, so we only had about 35 minutes before we got shoved out of there. I wanted to show you the music class. Sound and vibration, that's so important for a blind individual.

The vibration here specifically because it helps them relieve stress. But because sound and vibration is so crucial for the blind, a lot of them grow up to become musicians so they want to encourage that. They have a lot of music classes.

HARRIS: How high did Murtada count? How high did he go? Where did he stop, at 20 something?

PHILLIPS: You know what, he stopped at 26. But after the interview he wanted to tell me that he could go to 100.

HARRIS: Really? Hey, I'm just curious. Are you putting all of these reports together for some kind of CNN PRESENTS, some kind of special? I hope so. Maybe we can encourage that. I really hope so. If you would, Kyra, tell us about tomorrow.

PHILLIPS: Hopefully our bosses are looking now.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

PHILLIPS: OK, you know. Mark Nelson, John Cline (ph), hopefully you're listening.

HARRIS: Exactly.

PHILLIPS: I agree, Tony. You and I could do it together.

All right, tomorrow, we are going to take you to the college for women's sports. You know there was a time when women were told under Saddam's regime that they couldn't leave Iraq and that they couldn't do specifically professional athletics, or some type of job that would take them out of country. But now that's changing, and these women want you to know, forget the stereotypes.

HARRIS: Can't wait. Kyra Phillips for us in Baghdad. Kyra, great to see you, thanks.

PHILLIPS: Key battleground in the fight for the White House. Pennsylvania, and one city the Democrats are anxious to win, blue- collar Pittsburgh.

Here's CNN's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Less than 12 hours after the ballots were counted in Ohio, Hillary Clinton's volunteers at this Pittsburgh union hall were already taking her blue-collar message from the Buckeye State to a Steel City that's showing signs of rust.

COURTNEY PELLIGRINO, CLINTON CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: I feel that people in Pennsylvania, like the people in Ohio, are looking for a hard worker. They're looking for a fighter. They're looking for someone who can really get results for the working people.

ACOSTA: Across town, team Obama is also just getting warmed up.

MARK ELLERMEYER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: What I don't get is the way Senator McCain and Senator Clinton criticize him. I'm glad to be inspired. I'm looking to be inspired.

ACOSTA: But there are still plenty of undecideds. Take Pittsburgh's 28-year-old Democratic mayor, Luke Ravenstahl. He wasn't old enough to vote for Clinton's husband in '92 or '96, but that doesn't mean he's Just another young voter leaning toward Barack Obama.

LUKE RAVENSTAHL (D), MAYOR OF PITTSBURGH: While I am a young mayor and -- and represent certainly the youth of our city, I also represent the entire population. And I need to make sure that, before I make a decision, my decision is based on what I think is going to be best for Pittsburgh.

ACOSTA: That could mean another race that turns on the economy. While three-quarters of the population is urban and could go Obama, a quarter of the work force is blue-collar, a number that may favor Clinton.

MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": Pennsylvania, on paper, is a good state for Clinton. It's a lot like Ohio demographically. Like in Pennsylvania -- in Ohio, she has the support of the very politically active governor, Ed Rendell. So, I think Obama's got his work cut out for him there.

ACOSTA (on camera): When it comes to gaining delegate ground, Pennsylvania is a good bet for Clinton. There are 158 pledged delegates up for grabs here, making it a bigger prize than Ohio.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Pittsburgh.


COLLINS: Florida at the center of another election controversy. A legal veteran of the Florida recount weighs in on the primary do- over debate.


COLLINS: Primary votes rejected, delegates disqualified. But now, officials in Florida and Michigan are demanding their voters have a say in the battle for the Democratic nomination. Could this mean a legal showdown?

With us from Miami, former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey, remember, he was Al Gore's attorney during the 2000 Florida recount. Kendall, here we are again.


COLLINS: Something like that, anyway.

COFFEY: Here we are again. Who can believe it?

COLLINS: Yes, you know, I guess we should talk about keeping this on an a legal point here. What are the options for these states of Florida and Michigan?

COFFEY: Well, the options are, first of all, the DNC, which up to now, has said that all the 210 delegates from Florida and a large number -- and the entirety of the Michigan delegation are basically erased, wiped off the map.

And you think about how crazy that is, because these states are so important, so many voters whose rights ought to count, that's the position so far. The DNC could change its mind, it could decide to allow those delegates to be seated, to allow half of them to be seated, that's one of the options. Other options, Heidi, include everything from having a full re- vote, such as a new primary or a mail-in re-vote or even, and this isn't very popular in a lot of places, some kind of statewide caucuses like they had in Iowa. The problem is Floridians have never had caucuses. Would probably get only a fraction of the 1.7 million Democrats that voted on January 29th to participate.

COLLINS: Yes, and I'm not sure if you heard Howard Dean this morning. But he was saying, look, you know, you can't say that none of this is going to count and then come back later and say, well, actually, now maybe it should.

COFFEY: Well, it's really about the voters, isn't it? And I know there's a sense of candidates playing by the rules, but what about 4.25 million Democratic voters, the most important primary election probably in their lives, it's energizing for everybody else, demoralizing as heck for us. So, focusing on the voters, there has to be some way to have those votes count.

And consider this, if you're going to write Florida off the map for purposes of selecting the Democrat, is it really realistic to think the Democrats are going to be in play for the state in November? And we all know how important Florida is. It was a difference in 2000. It could very well be the difference again in 2008.

COLLINS: So, you think that the people at home, no matter what state they're in, in fact, will not care at this point that these rules were violated?

COFFEY: I think the important thing to Floridians is they want to participate. This is so exciting. We all know how the entire country has really been mobilized, voting in unprecedented numbers. Why should Floridians, why should people in Michigan be forced out of it just because of whatever, rule violation.

In Florida, it's especially ironic, Heidi, because it is a Florida-controlled legislature and a Florida governor that moved the election one week earlier. Why should four million Democratic voters be penalized for ...


COFFEY: ...what a Republican-controlled legislature did.

COLLINS: Well, it's very interesting. In fact, I think we have some sound here from Florida Governor Charlie Crist. He was on a little bit earlier on "AMERICAN MORNING." Let's listen to that. Then, I have a question for you on the back side.


CRIST: And common sense would dictate that these votes should be counted, every vote should count, this should make a difference and the people should be heard. Not the party bosses in Washington, the people in Michigan and Florida need to be heard.


COLLINS: Common sense, sure. But I ask again, you know, is there a legal case here? Do you think the courts would get involved?

COFFEY: It's a very tough case because traditionally, intraparty feuds have been things that the courts have closed their doors to. But Heidi, there's never been an election like this in my lifetime.

And one thing's for sure, lawyers in a whole lot of places, probably Hillary Clinton's lawyers, probably Obama's lawyers, probably plenty of people in Florida are looking under every rock right now, behind every blade of grass to see if there's some legal theory that can be raised so that somehow, if it's not going to be resolved at the political level, maybe it's going to be resolved by the courts.

COLLINS: Well, what about the right to the parties when it comes to these primaries and these conventions?

COFFEY: They have plenty of rights. And I think one of the reasons that courts have closed their doors is they're saying, look, the Democratic party gets to set the rules for the selection of the Democratic nominee. The other side of that though is what about the rights of voters? They're supposed to be fundamental under our scheme.

And as we keep hearing about what the Obama camp wants and what the Clinton camp wants, as a Floridian, I've got to tell you, we want to vote, we want our votes to count, we want to have a voice because this is so important to all of us. And that is the real party here, the real folks whose interests ought to be considered right now.

COLLINS: Yes, you'd think that the parties would be the first ones to know, hey, don't go predicting a presidential election in the situation that we could be in months from now when you make these types of decisions.

COFFEY: But Democrats sometimes, rather than be in the winner's circle seem to like the circular firing squad, so here it goes.

COLLINS: All right, Kendall Coffey, we certainly appreciate your insight, a unique one that it is. Former U.S. prosecutor Kendall Coffey. Thank you, Kendall.

COFFEY: Thanks, Heidi.


COLLINS: Let's go to the other floor now. Watch this hot shot.




COLLINS: She sinks it, and, yes, she's blind. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Of course, we're back to podcasting. Every day, a bit of a break there for a lot of the election coverage. But in the podcast today we will keep you posted on all the latest election news, we'll work in some offbeat stories as well. That's the reason we so enjoy the podcast. Make it available to you every day 24/7. What you do is you go to and you download the CNN NEWSROOM daily podcast. Do it today. Download it right on to your iPod.

COLLINS: Talk about a shot in the dark. Remember how basketball stars Wilt Chamberlain and Wilt Berry shot foul shots underhand? Check this out by Sacramento Kings fan Karen Parsegian. Ah, swish! Can you tell she's blind? And check out her victory dance. She lost sight in one eye eight years ago. She lost sight in her other eye while watching a Kings/Lakers playoff in 2002.


KAREN PARSEGIAN, SACRAMENTO KINGS' FAN: Game five, you know, Bibby right back at you with them winning it. It was the most thrilling thing. And people ask me all the time, what was the last thing you ever saw? It was that game.


COLLINS: Parsegian's shot before the King's Tuesday night game. It was shown on the big video board during the game. Good for her.

HARRIS: An explosion in times square.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It had to have been something. It was a huge bang and there was no car accident, so...


HARRIS: The target and search for a suspect, in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Good morning again, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed.

I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on this Thursday, the 6th day of March. Here's what's on the rundown. They voted in the Florida and Michigan primaries. But the candidates didn't get any delegates. Now the Democrats are thinking do-over.

HARRIS: Explosives on a college campus. Eight dormitory buildings evacuated. A freshman under arrest. A developing story. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT