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Campbell Brown

Sarah Palin Fights Back; Obama Addresses the Media; Key Moments and Highlights of Election 2008

Aired November 07, 2008 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. Tonight, president- elect Barack Obama and his first press conference.
And, late today, Sarah Palin unloads on McCain campaign officials who have been trashing her.

Our first bullet point tonight, a day in the life of our new president-elect. It actually started -- we're not kidding here -- with a parent-teacher conference. Photographers caught him looking over his doctors' -- or his daughters', rather, schoolwork after that teacher meeting.

Bullet number two, Obama surrounded himself with the key people advising him on the economy, a show of force intended to provide some calm on a day of especially grim economic news.

A quick look at the numbers released today, 240,000 more jobs lost in October, national unemployment now at a 14-year high, that, along with auto giants Ford and General Motors posting gigantic losses and warning they could go broke.

Bullet point three, his first press conference. And this afternoon, Obama made it clear the economic crisis is priority number one.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later. If it does not get done in the lame-duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.


BROWN: Part of today, though, was about managing expectations, and he also made it clear he's not the president yet.


OBAMA: the United States has only one government and one president at a time. And until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration.


BROWN: On the question of new Cabinet picks and who will be part of that new administration, well, no real answers today, though the gaggle of people surrounding him certainly gave us some clues.


OBAMA: There is no doubt that I think people want to know who's going to make up our team. And I want to move with all deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize "deliberate" as well as "haste."


BROWN: And he's also still deliberating what will undoubtedly be one of the most talked-about decisions of his presidency, the puppy he promised his daughters.


OBAMA: Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.


BROWN: But there was one unscripted screw-up. In fact, this afternoon, Obama had to place a call to former first lady Nancy Reagan for a comment he made at her expense.


OBAMA: In terms of speaking to former presidents, I have spoken to all of them that are living. Obviously, President Clinton -- I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.


BROWN: Whoops.

That brings to bullet point number four, Governor Sarah Palin. Up in Alaska today, she was totally accessible, totally unguarded, eager to talk about the campaign, and pretty scathing about her critics.

Tonight, Sarah Palin unplugged and fighting back.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: That is cruel. It's mean- spirited. It's immature. It's unprofessional. And those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context, and then tried to spread something on national news. It is not fair and not right.


BROWN: We're going to have a lot more from Governor Palin in a moment.

And as we end this historic week, we remember the people, events, and words that made all the difference. We have asked some our sharpest political observers in the business for their picks of the most memorable moments of the 2008 presidential campaign. And we will have that for you as well.

But, first, as always, we're cutting through the bull tonight.

We have lived through a week unlike any other in our nation's history. We are not the same country on Friday that we were on Monday. As a way of marking just how completely the circle has turned, consider West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. He will be 91 later this month. He is the longest serving member of the Senate. He started his career there in 1959, two years before Barack Obama was even born.

Now Senator Byrd, who's physically very frail, say he's handing over the reins of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which controls roughly $1 trillion worth of spending. And this is a political footnote in any other week but this one. Byrd's era as one of most powerful men in the Senate is ending in the same week that Obama was elected to the White House.

Why does it matter? It matters as a milestone of just how far we have come and how human beings can change. Robert Byrd was once a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan. He joined in 1942, when he was just 24 years old. At the time, a Klan official told him: "You have a talent for leadership, Bob. The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation."

That was then. Byrd renounced the Klan decades ago and is today one of most admired men in the Senate. A few weeks ago, he movingly urged his opportunities to elect Senator Obama.

On Tuesday night, Barack Obama became the president-elect. A nation torn apart by slavery and an anguished Civil War less than a century-and-a-half ago resoundingly elected an African-American as its president. Millions of Americans handed their dreams for a different America to Barack Obama.

Even those who didn't support him cannot deny that, tonight, we live in a different nation.

So, let's now take a closer look at Barack Obama's much anticipated first news conference as president-elect. With two-and-a- half months to go until he takes office, Obama is in a tough spot. More than 65 million Americans voted for him because he promised changed -- change, rather. But he's not president yet.

And some of this country's problems like the economic crisis just won't wait. Take a look at this. A staggering 1.2 million Americans have lost their jobs this year. That is equal to the population of the city of Dallas. Listen to what Obama said about the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I think the critical tone that has to be struck by all of us involved right now is the American people need help. This economy is in bad shape. And we have just completed one of the longest election cycles in recorded history.

Now is a good time for us to set politics aside for a while and think practically about what will actually work to move the economy forward.


BROWN: And I want to bring in our political experts right now to talk about some of the challenges ahead for the president-elect. We have got senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, who has been covering Obama's transition to power. She's in Chicago. Republican consultant Alex Castellanos, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and Errol Louis, "New York Daily News" columnist and morning host on WWRL Radio here in New York.

Alex, let me start with you here.

President Bush and president-elect Obama are set to meet on Monday at the White House to talk transition. How does Obama right now walk the very fine line of working with a very unpopular president whose policies he vigorously campaigned against and putting forth his own agenda? How do you handle that?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the agenda -- the agenda has to wait. He put out his own agenda during the campaign. But this is the time of transition.

And I think way he handles it is exactly the way you saw him handle it today. We saw the same Obama today we have seen in the campaign, measured, composed, and conservative. And I don't mean ideologically. I mean, he was cautious. This is a man who measures twice and cuts once. This is a man who has a meeting with his advisers, and even they don't know what he's really thinking until he might announce it later.

So, I thought today he was very gracious when he said, look, America can only have one president at the time. And that's how he goes through the transition period.

BROWN: Candy, you have been with him far more than any of us, having covered the campaign. You were there in the room. You asked a question today.

Just give us your sense of was he a different person now that he has the title and was standing there at the podium?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Listen, I began to notice that different person on the night of the election when he came out.

This is a man saying many of the same things he said throughout this campaign, you know, most recently about wanting a stimulus package, about wanting tax cuts. So, these are the same principles that he set forth. But this is very definitely a man who has stepped into this job who clearly sees the burden of it.

The campaigner is gone. There's a significant difference certainly between the first Barack Obama we saw in Springfield on that freezing day in February of '07, but even between his last campaign appearance and his election night and now. This is very much a man who is presidential in his demeanor.

And I think the country did see in that how Barack Obama basically is. And it's just what Alex said, was that he is so cautious. This was not a news conference where you came out and said, whoa, did you hear what he said? He said this.

Because he's walking this fine line between this kind of limbo of being a president-elect. But this is also how he thinks and this is how he approaches things, which is extremely cautiously.

BROWN: Gloria, give your impressions.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Campbell, he also ended it in 12 minutes. He didn't want to go on and on. As he kept saying, he's not the president.

He also struck another important note, I think, given what we have heard from the electorate this season, which is that we're in a time of crisis and this is a time for bipartisanship. And he made it very clear that, if Congress doesn't get that stimulus package done, he's going to do it, and so very crisp, I think even more crisp than we heard him even at the end of the campaign.

Certainly, at the beginning of this campaign, he used to go on and on a bit, today, very crisp, very direct. This is what I want to do. It's not my time yet, but we're making plans.

BROWN: Errol, let me ask you. This was a little bit of news that he was asked about. In the primary, he got a lot of criticism for agreeing to hold high-level talks with rogue nations like Iran without precondition. And he got asked about this again today. And it was striking for a reason we will talk about in a minute, but, first, let's listen.


QUESTION: How soon do you plan on sending low-level envoys to countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, to see if a presidential-level talk would be productive?

OBAMA: I am aware that the letter was sent. Let me state -- repeat what I stated during the course of the campaign.

Iran's development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable. And we have to mount a international effort to prevent that from happening.

It's only been three days since the election. Obviously, how we approach and deal with a country like Iran is not something that we should, you know, simply do in a knee-jerk fashion. I think we've got to think it through.


BROWN: Errol, he's not a candidate anymore. I mean, as much his answers to every question were scrutinized during the campaign, now, even more so it resonates around the world, everything he says. What did you make of his response?

ERROL LOUIS, "THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, I think his response reflected exactly that caution, basically letting the reporter know: I'm not going to answer this.


BROWN: I'm not going there.

LOUIS: I'm not going to make foreign policy 72 hours after the election.

And, frankly, by only answering about Iran, I think he really was right on point, because the other nations simply don't matter. Whether he meets with Hugo Chavez, without or without conditions, this is not a pressing issue for this country or for the world, frankly.

So, for him to focus on what really matters, the security of the country and Iran and a nuclear program, is very much on point. That's something to worry about. But until he comes out with his own foreign policy people, it will look just like that press conference, but with foreign policy heavy-hitters standing around him with a very carefully thought-out plan. I think that is what we should expect.

BROWN: All right, guys, stand by. We have got a lot more to talk about.

In a minute, we are going to get your reactions to a different moment from Obama's news conference.

And then a little bit, Sarah Palin, a lot less restrained now about -- in response to what people have been saying about her, the press, for example. Take a listen.


PALIN: There's been that fairness and objectivity. There have been some stinkers, though, that have kind of made the whole basket full of apples there once in a while smell kind of bad.


BROWN: The governor had a lot more to say from Anchorage. Our Gary Tuchman will have it all for us in a moment.

And, then, later, best of, worst of, most memorable. We have asked our experts to choose for us those moments we still can't forget. Stay with us.



OBAMA: With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it's generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything.

We have -- we have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.

On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So -- so whether we're going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.


BROWN: I want to take a moment here and make a personal case on behalf of schnoodles everywhere.

Take a look. Take a look at this picture. This is Oscar. This is my friend Ann's (ph) dog, Oscar. He's a schnoodle. He's a cross between a schnauzer and a poodle. And when she first said, "I'm getting a schnoodle," I thought, oh, my God. What are you thinking.

But look at him. And can I just say, they're hypoallergenic, very cute. He's the sweetest dog, photogenic. There you go.


BROWN: Thank you, Gloria. Just, I wanted to plug Oscar. When do you have opportunities to do like -- to plug your friend's dog on TV?

OK. The new president obviously going to have a lot more to figure out than what kind of dog to get.

But those issues, we want to talk about now once again with the panel, Candy Crowley back, Alex Castellanos, Gloria Borger, and Errol Louis.

And, Candy, a lighthearted moment obviously at this press conference, but there is extraordinary interest in a new president and his family moving into the White House. How open has he been about talking about the move, the process, especially given that it involves two very young children?

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

And this is something we know that particularly Michelle Obama has done a lot of thinking about. She's the one that is now looking into schools and that kind of thing.

One of the interesting things about this is, from the very beginning, whether it was Hillary Clinton or John McCain, Barack Obama, they tried to frame him as something, sort of as exotic. He was, you know, son of a white woman and a black man, and he spent time in Indonesia.

And what the Obama campaign needed to do was show themselves as the all-American family that frankly they are, that he married a woman from South Side Chicago. They had these two darling daughters. And they really helped in that sense to make him just the we're just like you candidate.

And I think the dog thing, I think there's interest in that. There haven't been little kids in the White House since Amy Carter. And, so, there's a lot -- this isn't just the country getting a new president. It's a family moving halfway across the country and people are interested in that. And they have been very cautious about this.

They have talked to -- Michelle Obama has talked to Hillary Clinton. She has talked to other first ladies with children about how they protected their children in such a fish bowl. And Hillary Clinton in particular, Michelle says, has been very, very helpful. And you know that the Clintons were quite protective of Chelsea, and she also grew up in the White House.

BROWN: That's true, a fair point there.

Gloria, let me ask you about another issue that did come up in the news conference today. And that's obviously Cabinet appointments, a lot of urgency, people here wanting to know who the team was. He said, "I want to move with all deliberate haste," I think were the words he used at the press conference.

You have talked to sources. What is the timing? When do you think we going to see more appointments? Which positions likely to come next?

BORGER: Well, they had a plan and they're executing it.

The first thing was to get the chief of staff out of the way. They have that with Rahm Emanuel. Then they want to name -- and I'm not sure in which particular order -- their national security and their economic policy team. You saw the economic team lined up behind them. I'm not quite sure which one will end up being the secretary of the treasury, if that person was even there.

But they understand that those are the three areas that they have got to get done right away. This is not a process, Campbell, that started yesterday. This is a process that started in the late spring. They were publicly vetting candidates. And, by that, I mean going to Google, like any of us could go to, looking at who their potential candidates were, getting names.

And, then, when Barack Obama went out to see his dying grandmother, he was given a large transition memo to read on the very long flight. So, he's been dialing in and out of this process, more so after the Democratic Convention. But it's really been, you know a long time in the making here. And they want to do it, I think, within the next two to three weeks. But, as he said, they're not in any rush, because they know what happened to Bill Clinton when he got a couple of things wrong. And any mistake is magnified early on. And they don't want to make any.

BROWN: Are Republicans waiting for a mistake, Alex?

CASTELLANOS: It's surprising how little we have heard about any mistakes like that, Campbell.

No, right now, everybody wants -- Barack Obama's got all of the rope and time he needs to do this and get this right. And he was so deliberate today. Even when he was talking about getting a dog for the family, he's saying balancing competing interests. We have to reconcile hypoallergenic against other interests. So, what a deliberate man.

BROWN: What do you think, Errol?

LOUIS: Well, that's right. There's a certain carefulness to all of this that has been the hallmark of the campaign, discipline, not a lot of leaks, not a lot of drama.

We don't know who the leading candidates are. I can't imagine any other administration where there wouldn't at least be some leaking going on, and they have kept it all under control. They don't want to blow this. They know that we're going to all be looking at the first 100 days, the first six months. They're never going to be able to make that first impression again. So, they're sticking with what has worked for them so far.

BROWN: All right.

Many thanks. Panel, I know you guys are sticking around. We have got more to talk about a little bit later.

And Candy for us in Chicago -- thanks, Candy.

Coming up next, our friend Dana Milbank there's something fishy about these behind-the-scenes election night photos. He is going to explain what is up in our PDB.

Also ahead, Sarah Palin's no-holds-barred response to her anonymous enemies in the McCain campaign.

And remember this moment?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington.


BROWN: Find out if that's one of our no bull picks for top moments of the campaign when we come back.



SIERRA GARD, SAN FRANCISCO STUDENT: Dear Mr. President, my name is Sierra Gard. I'm 8 years old.

Moving on, I think you should try to make fewer roads, so we can stop pollution. I also think you should donate more food to the troops. For instance, there's a little boy on CNN, and he donated 208 pounds of candy to them. Can you believe it, 208 pounds of candy?

I think our country made history when you won the election.

Sincerely, Sierra Gard.


BROWN: All over the country, schoolchildren like the ones you're looking at right now, they are writing letters to our incoming president. And they are sharing some of those letters with all of us -- tonight's letter, you just heard her, from Sierra Gard. That was a -- she is a third-grader at San Francisco's Carden West School.

And if you would like to send us videos of your kids and there "Dear Mr. President" letters or questions they may for the president, log on to

We turn now to PDB, our political daily briefing. It is our no bias, no bull take on the other political news of the day.

And joining us now is CNN contributor Dana Milbank, national political correspondent "The Washington Post."

A lot of ground to cover here, Dana.

Senator Joe Lieberman's saga continued today on the Hill. Democrats want him reprimanded for supporting John McCain over Obama, while Republicans, they just want him. What's going on?

DANA MILBANK, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Joe Lieberman's making a powerful bid to become the loneliest guy in all of Capitol Hill.

Now, the Democrats want to strip him of his powerful committee assignment as punishment and give him sort of the equivalent of putting him on a single-A farm team. And that is the Veterans Affairs Committee. Of course, they would like to have him become the cashier in the Senate cafeteria, if they really had a choice in the matter.


MILBANK: Now, his only choice is to go with the Republicans. And they would embrace him, of course, but then he becomes a pariah among his constituents back home in Connecticut. BROWN: Other news of the day, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd made an announcement today, signaling the transition really to a new day. Explain what happened.

MILBANK: Well, he's coming up on 91, the longest serving member of the Senate. I believe he was sworn in by John Adams.

And he's said that he's going to surrender chairmanship of the very powerful Appropriations Committee. This avoids a confrontation that the Democrats were hoping not to have, because, while everybody loves and respects Robert Byrd, they're getting a bit concerned he's getting up in years and he's spending a lot of time on the Senate floor talking about his pet shih tzu named Baby.

BROWN: Yes, no mandatory retirement age up there. Maybe we should think about that.

Newt Gingrich also back in the news, trying to move back into the Republican Party hierarchy. What may the future hold for the former speaker of the House?

MILBANK: Well, word has it that he's considering running to become the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

So, here you have the architect of the revolution of '94 who was deposed in '98. And I think we can propose a slogan for him. And that is, what have we got to lose?


MILBANK: So, he represents the angry white male, and that's largely the constituents that the -- the constituency the Republicans were able to hold on to in this last election. So, they will really nail down that vote.

BROWN: And, finally, Dana, the Obama campaign released some family photos from election night, a pretty interesting peek, I thought, at a historic night.

MILBANK: Well, it did seem tantalizing at first.

But then you look through it. I became very suspicious. I think there's some Photoshopping going on. In not a single one of those photographs did you see a bottle of champagne or even a single glass of wine. And I believe this incoming first family would like us to believe that they were sipping Evian all night, and that's very difficult to swallow.

BROWN: Not when you got something like this to celebrate. I'm with you.

OK, Dana Milbank for us tonight -- Dana, as always, thanks.

MILBANK: Thanks, Campbell.

BROWN: Still ahead: Sarah Palin comes out swinging, tough talk about smears and innuendoes from the McCain campaign, and she's not going to take it anymore.

And, later, the most unforgettable moments from this year's Super Bowl of presidential politics. We will be serving them up for you, NO BIAS, NO BULL.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I'm Joe Johns in the CNN newsroom with tonight's "Briefing."

A school collapse in Haiti this morning killed at least 50 students. A Red Cross official on the scene tells CNN more children appear to be trapped inside.

There's little hope for two children whose car plunged into a rain-swollen river near Seattle. The 16-year-old driver tried unsuccessfully to rescue her 2 and 14-year-old passengers.

Hurricane Paloma now threatens the Cayman Islands. The storms top winds are 115 miles an hour. Paloma is expected to batter Cuba tomorrow.

When Campbell Brown returns, "No Bias, No Bull," Sarah Palin fires back at her critics. Stay with us.


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Governor Sarah Palin is fighting back, unloading on the anonymous McCain campaign officials who have been trashing her all week. No longer under wraps, Palin was all too eager to talk to her, or talk to reporters rather. And our Gary Tuchman was one of them and he's joining us right now from Anchorage.

And, Gary, I know top McCain aides didn't even wait for the election to start -- for it to be over frankly, to start smearing Sarah Palin. And for a while, she brushed it off but not anymore.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Campbell. Sarah Palin came back to her Anchorage office today for the first time since the end of the presidential election. It's important to point out that anonymous allegations don't necessarily mean false allegations, but Sarah Palin certainly thinks they are false. Allegations regarding perhaps her intelligence, allegations regarding the number and amount of dollars in clothes she bought, she was not very happy at all when she talked to me.


TUCHMAN: But regarding these allegations which I don't think, my colleagues didn't make it up, they heard it from people who said we can't use our name, regarding this geography things about Africa, about NAFTA, are they not true?

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: Yes. That's not --

TUCHMAN: Are they misinterpreted? PALIN: No, that is not true. And I do remember having a discussion about NAFTA as we talked about Alaska's relationship with Canada and how we, heaven forbid, we go in and just unilaterally think that we're going to renegotiate NAFTA as it had appeared that Barack Obama, his position was yes. He wanted to go renegotiate.

I remember having a discussion with a couple of debate preppers, so if it came from one of those debate preppers, you know, that's curious. But having a discussion about NAFTA -- not, oh my goodness, I don't know who's a part of NAFTA. So, no, I think that, if there are allegations based on the questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA and about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context. And that is -- that's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional. And those guys are jerks if they came away with it taking things out of context and then try to spread something on national news. It's not fair and not right.

For instance with the whole clothes issue, the RNC purchased clothes. Those are the RNC's clothes. They're not my clothes. I never forced anybody to buy them. I never asked for anything more than maybe a Diet Dr. Pepper once in a while. I never have asked for anything.

These are Sarah Palin's clothes. You know, we don't take anything with us. So until that's cleared up by you guys doing your job, what else can I say? What else can John McCain say about all of this except these are false allegations.


BROWN: You know, Gary, Governor Palin also told you that she believed she was the victim of sexism, that she faced a lot of it during the campaign and that frankly, it surprised her.

TUCHMAN: She says she saw something new. She says here in Alaska, women are very self-sufficient so she hasn't felt sexism here in Alaska. But on her tour of the other 49, she says she did.


TUCHMAN: A lot of us who have daughters, we think about that when we see what you've gone through. And that's why the question I have to ask you is, are you surprised by what you've seen?

I mean, you've been the governor, you've been in the political life. But now, 70 days after John McCain picked you, have you learned something about this?

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: You know, that's a good question because here in Alaska that double standard doesn't so much apply here, because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, in fact, on par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard.

Look at the vocations that Alaskan women choose. They're commercial fishermen, they're pilots. They're working up on the North Slope and the oil fields. We're raised up here to know that, yes, you talk about equality, you see equality in Alaska.

And so, that's a good question because I think that was a bit of a surprise on the national level is why, you mean, the other 49 states aren't quite there like Alaskans are? Well, come on, follow Alaska's lead and start allowing the equal opportunities and the equal treatment.


TUCHMAN: The governor also told me she wasn't happy with the media coverage. And I said to her, listen, that's not really fair. There was a lot of accurate media coverage, occasionally some mistakes. But are you really saying that a lot of the media coverage is inaccurate?

She says, "Well, most of seemed to be accurate." But she said that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right. Gary Tuchman for us from Anchorage tonight. Gary, thanks. Appreciate it.

When we come back, the most important, most memorable "No Bull" moments of the 2008 presidential campaign, including one that nearly derailed Barack Obama's entire campaign. You remember what that was?


BROWN: Now something special before we close the book on the 2008 presidential campaign. We have asked some of our sharpest political minds for their "No Bull" picks of the key moments in this race, the turning points people will still be talking about years from now.

And here with me, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger. Once again, Republican consultant Alex Castellanos, "New York Daily News" columnist Errol Louis, and CNN senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Errol, I'm going to start with your pick, and this one feels like a lifetime ago. Let's take a look.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: In lines that stretched around schools and churches, in small towns and in big cities, you came together as Democrats, Republicans and independents to stand up and say that we are one nation, we are one people, and our time for change has come. Thank you, Iowa.


BROWN: Yes, I was going to say, we should mention what that was. Not just any old campaign rally. That's when Barack Obama won Iowa. Would there be such a thing as President-elect Obama, Errol, if he hadn't won Iowa? ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": No, I don't think so. This was, again, his second coming out. He electrified the crowd and become a national player four years prior at the Democratic National Convention.

Most of the rest of the nation I think had checked out. And then all of a sudden, here he comes. He wasn't even talked about as somebody who can win this.

Hillary came in third place. He wins in the state that's two percent black population. It had never been done before. It's almost unheard of. And it got the ball rolling.

It absolutely was an electrifying moment. I was there in the hall with him. I was very surprised. I spent the day before noting that he had a lot of enthusiastic supporters. They were standing in downtown Des Moines, in bitter cold, holding up signs saying, you know, vote for honk if you want Obama.

They were eight campaigns going on. Nobody else was doing that kind of thing. And it was really quite a moment to see.

BROWN: Alex, let me go to your pick. And this is arguably the biggest test that the Obama campaign faced. Take a look.


REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT, BARACK OBAMA'S FORMER PASTOR: God bless America. No, no, no. Not God bless America, God damn America!

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother. These people are part of me. And they are part of America, this country that I love.


BROWN: Now, Alex, these videos, what he was saying, could have doomed Obama's campaign and it didn't.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Stunning that it didn't. I mean, you would think you see that on his face that no one can survive that. And instead of being one of the worst moments of his campaign, it turned out to be one of the best.

Here is a candidate who's inexperienced. We didn't know if he was up for the job of being president of the United States. And instead, what we saw is a campaign test a candidate. And in these tests, though, we see his character revealed. How does he respond to a crisis?

Well, he was cool, he was calm, he was collected. And the American people got a sense of who this man is. Oh, that's how he might react to the challenges and storms that he might face if he were elected president of the United States. So we got to know him and it's interesting it happened early enough in the campaign that it was built into the stock price. If it happened late, oh, it might have rocked the campaign even more. But instead, it let us get to know him and his character and that's one of the reasons actually that the late attacks on his character didn't work, because we saw him tested earlier.

BROWN: Right.

CASTELLANOS: We got a sense of who it was. So when the McCain campaign tried to say, oh, you really don't know him. He's a pal with Williams Ayers and other terrorists, no one believed it.

BROWN: OK. Guys, we're going to run out of time. I'm going to throw my pick up before we're going to take a break, and we'll come back to Jeffrey and Gloria.

And I think this was a real grace note in a bruising campaign. Take a look.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you. It's got about 18 million cracks in it.


BROWN: No matter how you felt about Hillary Clinton, still a major force in America politics.

Gloria, what's next for her? Are we going to see Hillary Clinton as part of an Obama administration?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think she'll be part of an Obama administration, but I do think she's going to be a very, very important partner of his in the Senate, particularly in terms of getting health care, some form of health care passed. Also in terms of an economic stimulus plan, I think she's going to be right there alongside him, Campbell.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In eight years, she'll be three years younger than John McCain is now. So, she's got a long future ahead of her.

BROWN: There's plenty of time.

BORGER: She's not running again.

TOOBIN: And women live -- and women live longer than men anyway.

BORGER: She's not running again. I put money on it right now, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: All right.

BORGER: You guys are going to make a little wager?

TOOBIN: But the good news is we can bet, collect in eight years.

BROWN: All right. We haven't -- guys, hang on. Stand by. We haven't mentioned the certain groundbreaking female candidate yet here, have we?

We're going to have also more of the campaign's best one-liners as well as the important moments. Jeff and Gloria's picks when we come back. Stay with us.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Hi, I'm Larry King. We've got breaking Sarah Palin news tonight. What she's saying now.

Plus, the president-elect's fix for the economy. We'll talk to a member of that team on a day that the numbers looked pretty bad. And we've got more on the transition Bush to Obama.

Plus, and Maya Angelou are here. Lots ahead on "LARRY KING LIVE" Friday.

Campbell Brown will be back right after this.


BROWN: We are back to close out our "No Bull" picks of the key moments of the campaign of '08. Still with us our intrepid pack of political peeps: Gloria Borger, Alex Castellanos, Errol Louis and Jeff Toobin.

OK, Jeff's pick, safe to say, pretty much nobody saw this one coming. Take a look.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA. I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull -- lipstick.

As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border.


BROWN: Jeff, that convention speech certainly was a high point for the campaign, but the Katie Couric interview took the wind out of the sails.

TOOBIN: You know, both nominees were set in May. The only time during all those months when McCain pulled ahead of Obama in the polls was after that speech. That speech was a rocket. I mean, that had a huge impact. But the problem was, the scrutiny came afterwards.

And first, she went into hiding, no interviews.

BROWN: Right.

TOOBIN: And then the Charlie Gibson which was pretty bad, and then the disastrous Katie Couric "Putin rears his head" interview. And she went from being this tremendous positive to being, I think, a substantial negative in the campaign.

BROWN: And, Alex, I just got to ask you, because I mean, we're still even today, there's this back and forth going on between the McCain campaign and Palin. It's unlike I think anything that is typical of losing campaigns even when they do start going after each other. Is that a pick they really regret in terms of how they handled it, how they vetted her?

CASTELLANOS: No. I think there's a feeling that they didn't prepare her well enough. But they think they're confident of their pick and she did give them a boost when they needed it.

You know, they got it going. They just couldn't keep it going in the right direction. And I know a lot of people in the campaign at the very top, actually Steve Schmidt, they're disappointed that there are all these leaks. It's not very professional, and they are professionals.

BROWN: OK, Gloria, we're down to you. Probably, I think a lot of people would say the key moment of the campaign. Let's take a look.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We're running out of time. Tomorrow morning, I'll suspend my campaign and return to Washington. I've spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision, and I've asked him to join me.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time. It's not necessarily for us to think that we can only do one thing and suspend everything else.


BROWN: I mean you look at it now and that was a moment where voters really took a look at both of these candidates and how they dealt with this moment of crisis.

BORGER: You know, I remember it so distinctly. September 24th, I'm sort of sitting around here at CNN and suddenly we discover that McCain is going on the air to suspend his campaign. I immediately call somebody in the Obama campaign and I get this answer.

"Go on television right now and say that Barack Obama is not suspending his campaign, that he believes you can do two things at once. And he believes that if he goes back to Washington, he's just going to get in the way. If the president asks him to come back, fine. But he's not going to do it. He talked to McCain this morning, and McCain didn't give him any indication that he was going to do it." I just recently talked to a McCain adviser who said when that whole bailout fell apart, when those House Republicans went against it, he said, "It was like we were on the Titanic and I knew at that moment you could just see the smoke and the ship had already gone down and we were sunk." And that was it.

BROWN: Quickly.

TOOBIN: I think that was a bad moment for McCain. But I think the substance, the fact that the economy was falling apart...

BROWN: Sure. The climate.

TOOBIN: ... that was probably bigger even than the reaction. The economic climate, absolutely.

BROWN: It's very little anybody could have done if you were a Republican.

LOUIS: One gamble too many. He took a lot of chances in this campaign. He felt that he had to. That was one gamble too many. It just didn't work out for him.

BROWN: Guys, we got to end it there. We're out of time, but many, many thanks for doing this with us.


BROWN: To Gloria, to Alex, Errol and Jeff, appreciate it.

Two years of punch and counterpunch, which verbal jabs will you remember the best? In a moment, our favorite one-liners, the ones people are still talking about. Stay with us.


BROWN: So here's some more. I was beginning to think I'd never get to say Election '08 is over. Finally.

In his news conference, President-elect Obama called it the longest campaign in recorded history. And that got us thinking about some of the highlights, all these great one-liners from all the candidates.

Erica Hill is here to tell us which ones really hit the "Bull's- Eye."

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, and they were a few of them. As you mentioned, it was so long we had plenty of time to find a few.

Election 2008 quite a ride with the zingers to prove it. The crack staff here at "No Bias, No Bull" searched through hours and hours of stump speeches, debates, press gaggles, all in search of the best lines of the campaign. So first up hitting the "Bull's-Eye," the pantsuit. Because you can't talk about the past two years without referencing Senator Hillary Clinton's wardrobe staple, but she found a way to turn the tables on her opponents with this.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I guess my favorite message was from a woman named Angela. "Keep strong," she said, "it's not over until the lady in the pantsuit says it is."


BROWN: That was a good line.

HILL: It was very clever, I have to say.

BROWN: And the debates, obviously, gave us a lot of material to work with.

HILL: They did and luckily we had about a zillion debates, so there was plenty to pull from. The beauty of the debate too is because you're hoping that while they may often stick to their talking points, maybe there would be a couple of off the cuff remarks that would maybe give us some fodder. And we found a few we cannot resist bringing back.

No surprise, one of them is from Joe Biden. We also thought, though, this was some pretty quick thinking from former preacher, Mike Huckabee, when he was asked what Jesus would do as president.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office, Anderson. That's what Jesus would do.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Rudy Giuliani, I mean think about it. Rudy Giuliani, there's only three things he mentioned in a sentence. A noun and a verb and 9/11. I mean, there is nothing else. There's nothing else. And I mean it sincerely.


BROWN: That was a good one too.

John McCain, he had quite the zinger in the last presidential debate, one that resonated with a lot of his supporters. You were wondering when was he going to say this.

HILL: Absolutely. I think it made so many people stood up and take notice, whether they supported him or not. After months of people pleading with him to make it clear that he, John McCain, was not the second coming of George W. Bush, the candidate delivered, as you said, Campbell, in the final presidential debate.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you want to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.


BROWN: Not enough to do the trick, though, I think.

HILL: No, it wasn't. A good try.

BROWN: For the last man standing in the contest, of course, President Obama, he had one of the most memorable lines that I think was his call to action. Let's listen to that.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: If we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time, we are the ones we've been waiting for.


BROWN: The funny thing about that line is that his supporters went crazy. They loved it. They latched on to it, but so did critics.

HILL: They really did. In fact, I think he even appeared in a couple of negative ads as this example of the clear arrogance that was of Barack Obama. So always interesting to see how people take these lines in context, sort of how it works best for them.

BROWN: This is fun. A good look back. I liked it.

And wait, sorry, what was that Albert?

OK, well, we have a little bit of time left. But we are going to call it a night and wish you a very great weekend. Stay with us.

Next week, we'll see you on Monday.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.