Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Senator Hillary Clinton

Aired April 21, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Senator Hillary Clinton -- her eleventh hour campaign on the eve of a crucial primary...

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for you, but, of course, I have to win. And that really depends upon what happens on Tuesday in the Pennsylvania primary.


KING: One-on-one with the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, right now, on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, from the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Senator Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate.

What a run this has been.

Lots of things to cover tonight, Senator.

We'll start, though -- we did a survey. And the number-one problem Americans say they're faced with is gas prices.

If that's true, what can a president -- you, President Bush -- do about it?

CLINTON: Well, Larry, it's great to be on your show. And thanks for giving me this chance to be with you, even though I wish I were there in the studio with you, as we have on so many occasions in the past.

KING: Me, too.

CLINTON: And everywhere I go across Pennsylvania -- I'm in Harrisburg right now. About 10 days ago, I met with some independent truckers who are going to forced out of business if these gas prices continue to rise.

Yesterday, I was in Johnstown, introduced by a man who said he didn't know what he was going to do because his truck had cost $100 to fill up. And it is becoming a huge economic crisis for most Americans.

Here's what I would do if I were president right now.

Number one, I would investigate these prices. I'm not satisfied at all that there isn't any manipulation going on or price-gouging. I still remember during the Enron scandals finding out that there were traders in energy who were deliberately manipulating the market so that consumers in California, Oregon and Washington paid higher electricity prices.

I would also release some of the oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which would help bring down the price. It usually does.

I would also consider a gas tax holiday, if we could make up the lost revenues from the Highway Trust Fund. And my suggestion would be a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. They've been making record profits in the last years.

But I would also do something else. As president, I would make it absolutely clear that the United States was not going to be over the oil barrel any longer, that we were going to get serious about energy independence.

You see, I think, Larry, if we did that, if our president said that tomorrow and really meant it and worked with Congress to pass every piece of legislation we needed, that he has so far resisted supporting, the oil companies and the oil countries would drop the price, because they would want to lull us back into a false sense of security...

KING: So...

CLINTON: that maybe we wouldn't follow through. But this time, we must follow through.

KING: So all of the above?

CLINTON: Yes, sir, all of the above. And it could be done tomorrow if the president were willing.

KING: OK. You're using Osama bin Laden -- at least he's flashed on the screen -- in a new campaign ad.

Let's look at a bit of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the toughest job in the world. You need to be ready for anything.


KING: Now, we saw bin Laden there.

Barack Obama says that you're practicing the politics of fear.

How do you respond to that? CLINTON: Well, I am talking in that ad about the reality, that the next president will inherit some of the most dangerous and difficult decisions that any president has had to make in a very long time. And I think it's important that we have an election that asks people to consider who they would hire for the toughest job in the world.

We've got two wars. We have to end the war in Iraq and we need to win the war in Afghanistan. We've got these spiraling oil costs that are really hurting people, an economy that's in crisis. I don't think there's any doubt in anyone's mind that whoever we elect has to be ready to take on these decisions. And we don't know what else might be out there waiting.

And I want people to think seriously about leadership, because that's what I'm offering in this campaign. I think I'm ready. I have a unique set of qualifications that will prepare me to step into that Oval Office and, on day one, be the commander-in-chief we need to end the war in Iraq and to be the president to turn the economy around.

KING: How do you respond, Senator, to the complaints that the campaign -- both campaigns, in a sense -- have gotten so negative?

Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary in your husband's administration, a longtime friend of yours, is one of the people who says that he's now backing Obama.

Here's what he told CNN. I'd be interested in your comment.


ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: But this crescendo of negative mudslinging from the Clinton camp, diverting attention from the big issues this country faces.

I just thought, I can't be silent any longer. I've got to take a stand and I've got to follow my conscience.


KING: Did that hurt you?

CLINTON: Well, I don't think that he's followed the campaign very closely, because, clearly, there has been a relentless series of attacks coming from the other side.

I've spent the vast majority of this campaign giving very specific speeches about the solutions that I offer on all of the important issues facing our country. And, in fact, the press that covers me on a regular basis, I think, is kind of bored, because I just talk about solutions and what we're going to do to get more jobs and get health care for everyone and make sure we have a clean, renewable energy future and all of the other concerns that voters talk to me about.

But in the last, you know, couple of weeks, Senator Obama's campaign has become increasingly negative. He says one thing on the stump and his campaign does something else.

I'd like nothing better than to stay focused on the differences between our health care plans. I have a plan that will get to universal health care and cover everyone and he doesn't.

I have a plan to end the home foreclosure crisis and I don't think his measures up.

So I would be really pleased to talk about a lot of the hard questions that are going to face the next president. But, you know, in a campaign, it does get sometimes back-and-forth. Actually, I think this has been, on balance, a pretty civil and positive campaign, compared to many that we've seen in the last years. And it is fair to compare and contrast the differences between us. And voters get to make up their own minds about, you know, who they can count on to make the very difficult decisions and bring about the positive results we need.

KING: It may be perception then.

We have an e-mail from Collins in Riverview, Florida, who says: "I've noticed you started with the negative ads once you fell behind in the nomination race. So my question is, do you think you'd be in contention at this point if you had not gone negative?"

Now, you don't think you've gone negative.

Would you agree that a lot of the public thinks you have?

CLINTON: Well, I don't know what the public thinks. But I certainly believe that any fair reading of this campaign, the kinds of things that my opponent's campaign has said, the kind of ads that they and their allies have run, the sort of phone calls and mailings -- remember in Ohio, I had to call them out on the misleading, negative mailings that they were sending out about my health care plan and about my position to change and fix NAFTA.

And I think the people of Ohio took a hard look at who was being misleading and who wasn't, and that's why I won such an overwhelming vote in Ohio.

So I can imagine the people who only, you know, follow it from, you know, some of the snippets on TV might, you know, not be sure exactly who's saying what and what the campaigns are doing.

But the people in the states where we're competing who follow it very, very closely, I think, are well aware of, you know, who is running what kind of ads and the fact that Senator Obama is outspending me three or four to one and, you know, literally just running ads around the clock. You know, that's all part of the campaign. And at the end of the day, voters get to decide who they think would be best suited to do the tough job that the next president will face.

KING: And a big part of that decision will happen tomorrow.

Senator Clinton will be here right after the break, where we are just getting...

CLINTON: That's right.

KING: ...that's a big one tomorrow.

We're just getting started.

Stick around.



CLINTON: You're electing a president to solve problems, not to give speeches. And that should be what we're focused on.


KING: The very tough Senator Hillary Clinton on the stump in Pennsylvania. The campaign -- the primary is tomorrow.

Some say, Senator -- I almost said Hillary, because I've known you such a long time.


KING: I left out the "Senator".

CLINTON: Ha-ha! We've known each other a long time, Larry. That's all right.

KING: That this campaign has been so rough that whoever wins, it's going to be a Pyhrric victory; that the winner is going to lose in November because you knocked each other around so much.

A good chance of that?

CLINTON: Oh, I don't think so at all. Again, by any historic standard, Larry, this has been a very civil and positive campaign. I know we both have very intense supporters and people take this campaign incredibly personally. But at the end of the day, we're going to have a unified Democratic Party. Whatever differences there are between my opponent and myself pale in comparison to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.

And the important question for Democrats is who is stronger to actually go up against John McCain in the fall, because I believe that the Democratic Party, the people who have turned out and voted, will fall in behind our nominee. And then it will be up to the nominee to make the case against a very tough candidate.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Republicans are not going to give up the White House without a terrific fight. And I happen to believe that I'm better suited to go up against Senator McCain. But I've said on many occasions, I'm going to do whatever I can do to make sure we have a Democratic president in the White House next January. KING: In a recent debate -- in fact, you reiterated it "yes, yes, yes," that you thought Barack Obama could defeat McCain.

Is he better prepared than McCain?

CLINTON: Well, I think he can win, but I think I will win. I really believe that or I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you...

KING: But is he better prepared?

CLINTON: ... From Harrisburg.

Well, I think that he would be...

KING: Is he a better prepared candidate?

CLINTON: Well, that's going to be up to the voters to try to sort through. Lots of what Senator McCain is saying is just wrong for the country. So it doesn't really matter what credentials he's offering. And, obviously, he has very extraordinary credentials, with his military service and his service in the Senate.

But the bottom line is that his policies are wrong for America. I don't think we want to continue George Bush's policy in Iraq. And I sure don't think we want to follow along with what Senator McCain said, that he'd be happy if we had to have troops in Iraq for the next 100 years, if that's what it took.

And I sure don't believe that people want to continue George Bush's economic policies, which have brought us these skyrocketing gas prices and increasing costs for everything and stagnant wages for most middle-class Americans.

So Senator McCain certainly will play up his credentials and he has every right to do so. That's who he is. But at the end of the day, I want this election in the fall to be not a personality contest. It should be about what this person will do come the time when they're sworn in as the president.

Remember, a lot of people may have been taken in by George Bush back in 2000. He ran as a compassionate conservative. And I'm not sure people really understood or even knew what that meant. And many people have been sorely disappointed at the outcome.

Well, this election in the fall needs to be between the Republican and the Democratic candidate, toe-to-toe on national security, taking them to task over the economy, standing up for universal health care, talking about the issues that matter here at home and around the world. And I believe that I am the better candidate to do that.

KING: Senator McCain said, by the way, on this program, that he's a good friend of yours.

Is that true?

Are you friendly in the Senate and out of the Senate?

CLINTON: We are friends. Yes, I deeply respect Senator McCain and his service and patriotism. We've gone to Iraq and Afghanistan together. We've worked on behalf of a sensible policy to deal with global warming. So I enjoy his company.

And when I'm president, I'm going to ask him to come over to the White House quite often and take trips with me, because he has a perspective. I don't agree with it and I think that he's the wrong person to be president at this time, but we're friends and we'll remain friends.

KING: Are you saying if you're president, you would use Senator McCain?

CLINTON: Well, I'm going to reach out to Republicans, all kinds of Republicans, because I think it's important that we try to have a bipartisan foreign policy. I have very strong convictions about what we should do, but I'm going to listen and enlist Republicans, as well as Democrats -- not only elected ones, but distinguished Americans of both parties.

We have a lot of repair work to do in the world. And as president, I would ask people to, you know, really help me restore American leadership. I'd like to have a bipartisan foreign policy. I think it's been unfortunate that the president and the vice president have been so partisan in their pursuit, wrongly, of the goals that they have had in foreign policy.

So a lot of people in the Senate that I don't agree with on many issues will have -- and at different settings and on different concerns -- a lot to contribute to America.

KING: So maybe a Republican or two in the cabinet?

CLINTON: I think we should look at that. We need to try to have a bipartisan government. We've got to restore confidence and competence to the American government.

KING: During...

CLINTON: You know, the American people actually have to believe that their president can solve problems for them. That's why I've spent so much time in this campaign talking about being a problem solver and a change maker, somebody with a proven track record of experience in doing that.

KING: All right. During the campaign, Senator, you've constantly touted yourself as the candidate with experience, been through fire, knows how Washington works.

Senator Obama frames your experience this way.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Here is, essentially, Senator Clinton's argument. Her basic argument in this election -- and it's become clearer as time goes on -- is that you can't really change Washington. You can't really change the say anything, do anything, special interest driven game in Washington. And because you can't change it, you might as well select somebody who knows how to play the game better because they've been at the game longer.


KING: Does he have a point, that you -- can you change the system you've been a part of for 20 years?

CLINTON: Well, I think that most of our great presidents who actually produced transformational change have been involved in the political life of our country. You know, Senator Obama was in the state senate about three and a half years ago. And I was in the Senate of the United States, working on a lot

of these issues.

I represent change. The fact that I am, as a woman, competing to become the president of the United States would be an extraordinary change.

But it's also more than that, Larry. I've taken on the special interests. It's easy to talk about it and to give speeches, but I was there 15 years ago fighting for universal health care. And I still am. I was there when we helped to form the Children's Health Insurance Program and took on the insurance companies and had the drug companies have to finally agree to test drugs for kids, instead of just having them prescribed.

You know, I took on the Bush White House over health care for National Guard and Reserve members. And on so many issues, I've been on the front lines of making change.

I think I know exactly what it will take, because I do have this unique experience, having been in the White House, having served a full term and then reelected with 67 percent of the vote, because I served the people of New York, who gave me the chance to go to the Senate, I think gives me a perspective that is essential.

KING: I've got to...

CLINTON: You know, I wish it were that easy, to show up in Washington and say, let's get everybody together and we're all just going to change because the president wants us to. That's not the way it's ever worked. Not the way it will work.

But I have a proven record of getting bipartisan legislation through the Senate as a first lady, as someone who understands what it's going to take.

KING: I've got to...

CLINTON: And I think that counts for a lot.

KING: We've got to get a break.

We're not finished just yet. We've got some more to ask Senator Clinton ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We're back with Senator Clinton.

If the level of violence in Iraq, Senator, is the same or worse, say, in January of next year, would you still advocate your plan of phased redeployment?

CLINTON: I would, Larry, because I don't think anyone can predict the future. We don't know what the consequence of any of our actions will be in Iraq. One thing I'm confident of, however, is staying there is not the right decision for America. Our military is stretched thin. We have given the Iraqis the precious gift of freedom. Our young men and women have performed heroically.

The Iraqis have not stepped up and taken responsibility, as we had hoped; that they would begin to make those decisions that only they can make for themselves.

And by our staying in Iraq, we are losing ground elsewhere in the world. Our military and foreign policy experts have all said that we have lost ground in Afghanistan. The Middle East is in a much more dangerous position than it was. We have all kinds of problems, from Latin America to Africa to Asia. China and Russia are reasserting their positions in the world. We are not moving to really take the global leadership that America must take for our own security and for the stability of the rest of the world.

As we begin to withdraw our troops, I believe that will help to focus the Iraqis, unlike the blank checks that President Bush has given them. And that they will have to understand that we are not going to be there to save them, protect them, to step in for them.

And we'll also have to engage in very vigorous diplomatic efforts with the other countries in the region that have a big stake in a stable Iraq.

So, yes, I am committed to doing it responsibly...

KING: All right...

CLINTON: ...carefully. But I will begin to withdraw troops within 60 days.

KING: How are you going to do tomorrow?

CLINTON: Well, I hope I do well. I never make predictions. I've campaigned hard. We've been all over the state. I think people have worked extremely hard for me and I hope to do well. Obviously, it's important for me. But I think it's also important for my opponent. He should try to win this state, which he's been doing, because he knows he hasn't won any big state except his own. And I think that's important for Democrats -- who's won the big states, who's been there to put together the electoral map that we need to win in the fall.

KING: If you...

CLINTON: He has yet to close the deal on those big states.

KING: Senator, if you win it, say, by 5 percent or less, will that be a measuring stick?

There are those who will say, then, you should leave the race if you're that close in Pennsylvania.


KING: Or you don't look at that?

CLINTON: Well, I sure don't, Larry. A win is a win. But, again, I think this is such a close race. And neither of us has the delegates we need to get the nomination. We've got nine more contests after Pennsylvania, some very important states that are still up to bat. And I think we're going to go all the way through this process and see where we stand in June.

We also, don't forget, have to decide how we're going to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan. 2.3 million people voted. I don't want to disenfranchise either of those states. They're also critical to an electoral victory for a Democrat.

You know, they say that the path to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania. And if I'm fortunate enough to win tomorrow, that will be yet another state that I have won in, being outspent dramatically by my opponent, and have been able to put together the coalition that is really going to be the base of our campaign against John McCain in the fall.

KING: So what you're saying unequivocally tonight is that you're not prepared to lose at all? You're going right through June, you're going to Denver?

CLINTON: Well, I'm going until we get Florida and Michigan resolved. I'm going until everybody has had a chance to vote in this process. I'm going until the automatic delegates have made their judgments, based on their independent assessments, as to who of us would be better against John McCain in the fall and who would be the best president for our country.

KING: Have you enjoyed this?

CLINTON: I really have. I have really enjoyed it. It is grueling. There's no doubt about that. But every day something happens that just lifts my spirits. You know, this morning, I started in Scranton, Larry. And there was a man, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. And the people he lived with had brought him to my event. He's been in a wheelchair for 30 years. And it's the first time he's ever registered to vote, so that he could vote for me.

And when somebody tells me that, no matter how tired I am, no matter how difficult the challenges are, I know I'm doing the right thing.

KING: Yes.

CLINTON: Because these are the people that I want to go to the White House and fight for. You know, a lot of Americans really need a fighter and a champion on their side. And that's what I'm offering and that's what I'm prepared to do.

KING: If events don't turn your way and you're not the nominee, would you and President Clinton campaign vigorously for Senator Obama?

CLINTON: Without a doubt. We're going to do everything we can to make sure a Democrat is elected president. That is the ultimate goal here, to have a Democrat sworn in next January.

We'll have a Democratic nominee. We'll have a unified Democratic Party. I'll work my heart out to make sure that we have a Democratic victory.

KING: Senator, thank you so much.

Always good seeing you.

CLINTON: It's great to talk to you.

KING: And we hope our next interview will be in person.

CLINTON: It will be, Larry.

KING: The next one together.

CLINTON: I'm looking forward to it.

Thank you so much.

KING: Viewers have been asking why we were interviewing Senator Clinton on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary and not Senator Obama. We wanted you to know we invited Senator Obama to be our guest tonight, too. He declined because of scheduling.

LARRY KING LIVE, by the way, has interviewed Senator Obama several times during this campaign, including just last month. We look forward to talking with him again very soon.

How did Senator Clinton do tonight?

Our panel will join us and give you their thoughts next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: It's the eve of the Pennsylvania primary. We've just heard from Senator Clinton. We now welcome to look at all of this in New York, Dee Dee Myers, served as White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton and is the best selling author of "Why Women Should Rule the World." In Spokane, Washington, where he will speak tomorrow, Tony Snow, who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush and who we're happy to announce tonight, on this program, has just joined CNN as the political contributor. Welcome aboard, Tony.

TONY SNOW, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Larry. Good to be here.

KING: What -- you were once with us, right?

SNOW: Well, yes. I did a lot of stuff with CNN. People forget in the pre-Fox days, I did a lot of TV with CNN and really cut my teeth in broadcasting with them years ago. So I'm coming back to work with a lot of old friends.

KING: You are in great company. We're proud to have you with us.

SNOW: Thanks, it's good to be here, like I said.

KING: Tony Snow, now in the CNN family, officially announced today and we break the news on LARRY KING LIVE. Dee Dee Myers, what did you think of Senator Clinton tonight?

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I thought she gave a typically solid performance. She seemed really energetic given how hard they've been both been working. She looked like she was ready for the fight, ready to go on. I don't think we heard anything dramatically new. She answered a lot of the same questions in much of the same we have heard her answer them over recent weeks.

As always, Larry, you had more of a conversation than, you know, sort of a deposition. And that was something I think people watching appreciate. But I think, you know, she laid out -- you know, she defended herself against charges or your questions about whether her campaign had been unduly negative or whether they were playing to peoples' fears. I think she answered the questions competently and laid out a rational for beginning to withdraw troops from Iraq in the first 60 days of her administration, should she get it, regardless on the situation on the ground. That's something she'll certainly get questions about in the coming months if she's the Democratic nominee.

KING: Tony, what about the suggestion of Republicans in her cabinet?

SNOW: Well, look, maybe, maybe not. What she is trying to do -- Barack Obama's figured out a couple of things. Number one, people want optimism. Number two, they want a sense of national unity. So she's laid out that she might have Republicans in. But there's nothing in the record the last few years to indicate that Senator Clinton really much is going to reach out to Republicans or agree with them on much of anything.

MYERS: Well, that's --

SNOW: The fact is that her policies are her policies are ones that are pretty consistently and significantly different from those of the Republican mainstream, which is fine. That's what you want. You want political parties that have separate beliefs that can lay their case before the American people.

As far tonight's performance, what's interesting, Larry, is that on the substance, there's not a huge difference between her and Barack Obama on key issues. It comes down to personality. For many Obama voters, it is we like him. Hillary Clinton's trying to make the argument that he is really not quite ready for prime time.

You asked a great question. You asked if he was unprepared. She didn't want the bite on it, but the fact is that the underlying theme is that he is not prepared, that in many ways, his positions are sort of still kind of half baked and they're inconsistent, that he's got expose himself to the American public. Who is this guy?

There are things in his background that he has to rectify. I think she fairly artfully laid out some of the themes that are going to go on. But she's also right, this is not a campaign that ends tomorrow, although a lot of people want it done tomorrow. This is going to go through June. And I think you are right, it will probably go to Denver.

KING: Doe Dee?

MYERS: First of all, I think it's interesting -- you know, I don't know what record Tony's been watching Senator Clinton's performance in the United States Senate, but she's worked consistently with Republicans. I think both previous two presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush, have both put members of the opposite party in their cabinet. I think that's good for America and I certainly think Senator Clinton absolutely means it. It's important for the future of the country.

So, you know, again, I think moving forward we'll see more of that. I think that's an appealing side of her. I thought it was appealing when she said how hard she would work for the Democratic nominee, regardless of whether it was herself or Barack Obama. I think that's something Democrats want to hear. There's been a lot of accusations that she is destroying the party. I think she was clearly trying to answer that.

But I also think by her saying she's more qualified than Senator Obama, I don't think that says he's unqualified. I think she's gotten a little bit of unfair flack for that. What is she supposed to say? He is more qualified than she is? She didn't want to say he was unqualified and she didn't say it. SNOW: No, but again --

KING: Tony, true?

SNOW: That's still the underlying theme. It's interesting, Dee Dee, I didn't mean to put you on the defensive by talking about the Republicans in the cabinet. The fact is, you and I have been in meetings in the White House when the president's around with members of the other party. I don't get the sense, based on these answers, universal health care -- she's talking about an energy plan that doesn't at all address matters of supply, instead tries to lay it all at the feet of big oil and Arab countries -- I don't see those are the kinds of theme that are going to unify the two parties.

But again that's fine. I like the fact the parties disagree. But I do think that it's going to be critical for Senator Clinton at least to say to that the voters, look, I'm better than this guy. I am more experienced than this guy.

MYERS: Absolutely.

SNOW: Whether it's the 3:00 a.m. phone call or the picture of bin Laden, the clear implication is that if you have a big crisis, well, he's probably not quite ready. It's not good enough to be almost read ready.

KING: I need to get a break, guys. We'll have more with Tony and Dee Dee. We're not going away, so neither should you. Stay with us.


KING: Dee Dee Myers and Tony Snow; and what you're looking at is University of Pittsburgh for a big rally tonight commencing almost immediately with Senator Obama. The key question, Dee Dee, who's going to win tomorrow and by how much?

MYERS: Well, the answer's Hillary Clinton's going to get more votes, but the who wins question will be answered by how many more votes. If she wins by ten points or more, clearly that will be a victory for her. It will feed her momentum coming out of Pennsylvania to the following primaries.

If she wins by less than five points, I think that's a clear win for Senator Obama. If it's somewhere in between, we continue with the mushy muddle we've been in a lot in recent weeks. We'll see what the numbers are. Look, Hillary Clinton's shown an extraordinary ability to close. Late-breaking voters in the last bunch of contests have broken strongly for her. We don't know whether that will happen again. The last few weeks have been a bit more negative, particularly the last few days, than what we've seen in previous states. So a lot of questions remain to be answered.

KING: Tony Snow, newest member of the CNN team -- I want to get that in again -- who's going to win tomorrow? SNOW: Yes, I guess Hillary's going to win. But it's interesting, her biggest opponent right now is not Barack Obama. It's conventional wisdom, because everybody's trying to set a margin. The fact is, you win, you win. And the argument that she's been making -- I think it's pretty compelling -- you win the big traditionally Democratic state. If Barack Obama's getting ahead in Republican states, do you have a candidate who's going to be able to propel you victory?

Notice, she mentioned a couple of things that people have to keep their eyes on. Number one is the seating of the delegations of Michigan and Florida. The second thing is what happens with the super delegates or the automatic delegates, as she said. There's going to be a heavy dose of lobbying from the Obama and the Clinton camps when all is said and done. So my view --

Again, look, I'm not on the Democratic side. I'm not trying to parse the percentage victory. I think a victory is a victory and I think the Clinton team will probably look at it that way. Yes, they want double digits. But they'll take a victory.

KING: Who would do better in November, Dee Dee?

MYERS: Well, you know, I think that that's -- we'd like to be able to look in the crystal ball and answer that question, as Democrats with the primary contests still going on. I don't think there's an easy answer to that question. If there were, we would have resolved this a long time ago. There are those who think Hillary Clinton's experience as a campaigner, having been through a general election, is certainly something that prepares you to be in a general election. She wasn't the candidate, but she's been through it at a much more close level than Senator Obama.

On the other hand, Senator Obama is fresh. He brings a lot of enthusiasm. He has a tremendously enthusiastic base of support that's going to stand by him and drive up turnout in ways we haven't seen in previous elections. So both of them I think have strong arguments for why they'd be the better nominee. The bottom line is the important thing is to win in November and I think either candidate has a great opportunity to do that.

KING: Tony, how do you see November?

SNOW: Well, the way -- Look, I think McCain's going to win, actually, because I think security and the economy both break his way. But on the Democratic side, if you take a look at it, it's basically -- Dee Dee got this right. You have got this charisma and emotion on the part of Obama. Can people stay in love with him from now until November? If so, it makes him a stronger candidates. If, on the other hand, the more you learn about him, the more you fall out of love, that's a campaign that could collapse.

Meanwhile, with Hillary Clinton, you have somebody who is battle tested. You have a political machine. You have a lot of experience. And you're going to have the ability to do whatever it takes to try to pull the party together. If you need that kind of machine operation, I think she does better.

KING: We are out of time this time. Dee Dee, thanks very much. Dee Dee Myers and Tony Snow. Tony, welcome aboard again to CNN. Tony Snow joins us as of tonight.

We are sticking with politics, just changing the players, next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Anderson Cooper will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour. When's up tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, it's all politics. Just over nine hours until the polls open in Pennsylvania, nine hours until all the strategy about the campaigns, all the predictions from the pundits are finally put to the test. We'll look live at what both Senators Clinton and Obama are up to tonight in the final hours. It's been a hectic day on the campaign trail, bitter words back and forth, the toughest attacks yet from each of these candidates.

Tonight, we have also got John King at the magic wall breaking down the key places to watch in Pennsylvania as the votes come in. We'll also be looking at the group some voters are calling the new soccer moms. They're Pennsylvania's single women and could be the ones who swing this primary. It's a busy night as we gear up for the Pennsylvania primary. That's at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. We'll all be covering it tomorrow, from dawn to past midnight. That's "AC 360" at 10:00 Eastern/7:00 Pacific. We now welcome Jamal Simmons in Washington, the Democratic strategist, president of New Future Communications, a supporter of Barack Obama. And also in Washington, Kiki Mclean, senior adviser to the Clinton campaign, a Democratic strategist, as well.

With news, Jamal, that your candidate has just been endorsed by Michael Moore.

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I've been on the receiving end of that before. I'm not so sure that's a great thing.

KING: How did you think Senator Clinton did tonight, Jamal?

SIMMONS: I thought she did fine. She's always pretty good in these kinds of environments. She's a very great speaker. A lot of Democrats admire her a lot. I think the problem is, though -- the issue is that Barack Obama just seems to be a better candidate for president. He actually wants to make the change that people want. He really embodies that change.

And if you think about Barack Obama's story, it's so similar to a story of a candidate like Bill Clinton, where he was born to a, you know, a mother who didn't have his father around and he, you know, got himself into school. He went back home instead of taking an expensive job some place in Wall Street or New York, and he really has devoted his life to the service of people. And I think Americans will respond to that very well.

KING: Kiki, how did you think your candidate did tonight?

KIKI MCLEAN, SR ADVISOR, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: I think she did great. I have so much admiration for Hillary Clinton and the kind of grueling schedule she's been on for a year now in this campaign and the grace with which she does it. And I think that's what is going to make her a terrific president. I have to say one thing -- make sure Jamal remembers this -- there's something that Bill Clinton had when he ran for president and that was a record as 12 years as governor. He dealt with balanced budgets. He dealt with major trade issues and he had a lot more experience.

But in terms of her performance tonight, it's what it's been every step of the way. It's about getting information to voters, what she is going to do as commander in chief, how she's going to fix this economy. And she listens. She wants to know what's going on in the lives of these people and I think it's a reason she really connects in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

KING: She's also tenacious.

MCLEAN: She is. You know what, this is one of the great things. I don't want a president who's going to back down at the first blush of trouble. I want a president who knows where she stands, is willing to take that stand and willing to bring people to the table to help her.

SIMMONS: Here's the problem, Larry: this is a family fight. You know, in family fights you don't fight the same way that you fight with people outside of the house. So what Hillary Clinton is doing, the ways she's waging this campaign against Barack Obama, has one of the most negative campaigns, you know, I have seen in the last 16 years that I've been involved in politics between two Democrats.

Now, when you're fighting Republicans, you know, everybody -- Democrats are all rallied around and ready to go ahead and go to the mattresses. But when you're fighting Democrats, it's just so negative that I think it turns a lot of people off and you're seeing that reflected in Senator Clinton's polling numbers.

KING: Let me get a call in. San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question for the panel is, why do you think that the news media, most specifically not CNN, but the other guys, are so adamant and basically hell bent on wanting Hillary to drop out of the race even if she wins tomorrow's primary by a small margin, say five to seven points? It's like a horse race. You don't stop when you're running down the stretch and your neck --

KING: Kiki, do you think the news media wants her to drop out?

MCLEAN: Look, I think there are people who want the race to go on because it's very entertaining and exciting in the media. I think there are people who have their own opinions, but they haven't hidden so well when they're been engaged in supposed unbiased journalism. But more importantly, I think the voters get this and they have figured it out.

I think there have been a few instances where journalists have been trying to deal with a new day where a woman is running for president, where we're making history with a woman and an African- American as our leading candidates for president of the United States. But I think the American people have a great way, and a democracy has a great way of bringing reporters, activists, volunteers, supporters and candidates to account.

There's nothing I love more than election day, because I wake up fired up, because everybody gets to have a role in democracy. Maybe I'm watching too much of the John Adams series lately, but I think Americans have a way of keeping things in check. So, yes, I think there's moments where it's been a little out of control. But you know what, Larry, she can take the heat in the kitchen. I think she can take some of these world leaders, so she can deal with a few reporters.

KING: We'll take a break. By the way, the John Adams series is extraordinary.

MCLEAN: Isn't it?

KING: We'll be back with some more moments. Don't go away.


KING: -- Simmons and Kiki Mclean. Another call from Houston, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I was wondering, Senator Clinton has consistently said that she is the only candidate who is ready, willing and able to withdraw troops from Iraq on day one. And I was wondering what makes Senator Clinton any more able to withdraw the troops on day one than Senator Obama? And if she is successful in that, would she then redirect the attention to Afghanistan?

KING: Jamal?

SIMMONS: Obviously, I don't think that Senator Clinton is more capable than Senator Obama is. I think he's got a plan to get the troops out of Iraq. I think that he's also got the credibility with the American people to be able to reach across lines and listen to the generals and find a responsible way to get this job done the way the American people want. And I think that's one of the issues that's really at stake here, is that Senator Obama is a change agent.

The Republicans have nominated probably -- of all the people they could have nominated, they nominated someone they think of as a change agent. We have a chance to nominate someone who really will be a change agent, and I think Barack Obama has not been in Washington. He does have the credibility with the American people. And he has the judgment, as we saw in 2002 when he was against the war in Iraq -- he has the judgment to be able to get this job done.

KING: Kiki? MCLEAN: It's interesting because I think -- I'm not sure that she has Senator Clinton's quote exactly right. I think what you have heard --

KING: Didn't say day one.

MCLEAN: And what Senator Clinton has talked about and what other people have talked about is that she had a plan -- She talked about it in the earlier part of the show with you, Larry -- to bring our troops home safely and responsibly. There have been some inconsistencies on the part of Senator Obama and his advisers about what those plans are. Samantha Power, his chief foreign policy adviser earlier in the campaign gave some interviews that led to some confusion and gray areas, so that we're not quite sure what Senator Obama wants to do.

But when it comes to Senator Clinton, I think one of the great compliments to her leadership and the confidence that our military leaders have in her is the more than 30 retired generals and admirals who have said she's the best prepared to be commander in chief. She's the one who best sees it. The caller also asked another question, which was how do we engage in foreign policy with other places. And I think there was just a little confusion there about Iran and Iraq, and the senator from New York, Senator Clinton, laid out a terrific plan, in terms of her goals in foreign policy and her focus on moving back into diplomatic work, along with political work, and making sure that we also remain strong in supporting our military. She spent a lot of time on those issues in this campaign.

SIMMONS: Larry, after making the mistake of voting for the war in Iraq, Senator Clinton then voted for the Iran bill that also gave President Bush authorization in Iran. It's almost as if she didn't learn the lesson of the first time President Bush asked her to vote for a bill. She voted not where people like Bob Graham and Carl Levin, who were the heads of the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, and said, don't go to war in Iraq. This isn't the right time. This isn't the right issue.

Instead, she chose to be with George Bush and she did it again. We talk about Iraq and Iran, I think that Barack Obama's got the judgment to be able to get the job done.

KING: Kiki, who will win tomorrow?

MCLEAN: I have great faith in the senator from New York. I think Senator Clinton's done a terrific campaign there and I hope she does well. But I think we all know anybody who lays money on polls these days is probably wasting their money, because I think we had big nights in New Hampshire and Ohio and Texas and other big states when people didn't expect it. I'm hopeful tomorrow.

SIMMONS: She needs a win.

KING: Who will win, Jamal?

SIMMONS: She needs a win and I think she will get a win tomorrow. Senator Clinton will get a win tomorrow. The question is by how much. My expectation is she will probably do pretty well and Senator Obama will narrow the gap as much as, and they'll go and fight in North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, bunch of other states, and then this campaign will be over. Senator Obama will be the nominee and we'll get to business with John McCain.

MCLEAN: I think I'll leave it up to the American people to decide who the nominee is going to be. I feel good that there's a real good chance that it will be Senator Clinton. You know, Jamal and I have a little joke. If Jamal could get away with it, he would say she has to win by 40 points for it to be a win.

KING: Jamal, we've only got 20 second, can the party recover from this squabble?

SIMMONS: The party can recover. It would be a lot easier if we get out of some of this Osama bin Laden attacks and all that sort of stuff that we're seeing right now. But the party can certainly recover. We'll be fine. Just get the job over as soon as possible.

MCLEAN: We'll do fine and I hope that Jamal counsels his candidate to stop some of the negative campaigning he's been doing as well.

KING: OK guys. Thanks both very much, Jamal Simmons and Kiki Mclean. Check out our website at We've got quick votes, video clips and transcripts too. You can email upcoming guests or download our podcast. This week, Stephen Colbert.

We're on at a special time tomorrow night, Midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific. We'll have the results and the wrap-up of the Pennsylvania primary. It's going to be a big night for the candidates and for us. And right now, it's a big night for his preview time and his time slot; it's time for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?