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CNN Live Event/Special

Obama Takes Oregon

Aired May 20, 2008 - 23:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There are more than enough pledged delegates, but the superdelegates will be the final say in who will be the nominee.
All right, this is what we did tell you. Now that all the polls have closed in Oregon, we can tell you that Obama is ahead based on the voter phone polls that we did. All the ballots in Oregon are by mail.

So there are no exit polls. But we went ahead and we polled voters, people that told us they went out and voted over these past few weeks by ballot, by mail. And based on that, we can tell you Obama is ahead. But we do not have enough information to project a winner at this time.

We are going to wait for some of the actual, official tallies to be coming in before we can project a winner in Oregon. We can only say that Obama is leading. But not yet ready to project a winner.

We will be able to get some hard numbers and fairly soon. We are told in Oregon, given the nature of the mail-in ballots, they will be releasing a big percentage of those results fairly, fairly soon. Once we get that, we will be able to better have a sense that we can project the winner based on the voter phone polls as well, as well as on the actual numbers that are coming in.

I want to go over to John King and he is going to take us into the state of Oregon. She won decisively in Kentucky, but we are expecting something different in Oregon.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are, Wolf. And the key Democratic breakdowns here are not race, as we have seen in some states but education and affluence, where voters have college degrees especially post-graduate degrees and where they have more a higher median income, Barack Obama tends to do better and you will find Oregon a much more affluent and a higher education state than in the state of Kentucky.

Here is what we are looking for. The math could start to fill in at any time. But most of the state's population, more than 75 percent of the state's population is over here in the Western part of the state. And most of the Democrats are over in this part of the state as well.

So we will look first obviously, Portland is the largest city in the state. 20 percent of the population, 19.3 of the state of the population right up here, large Democratic area, two Democratic congressional districts are sliced off the city of Portland, one comes on this way, one comes that way. Barack Obama expected to do quite well there.

Also, college towns, in Salem, in Eugene, down in Medford, more rural area down here bordering to the South But this is where Barack Obama has considerable strength. Again, more affluent, upscale Democratic voters; he is expected to do quite well. This is rural, largely is partly populated I just picked this, 0.2 percent of the state's population, 0.2 percent.

So most of your voters are from Portland and a direct line in South, Salem and Eugene. Right in here where 75 or more percent of the state's population and again a percentage of the Democrats. This is what we will look for as the actual results starts to come in. And again, Barack Obama heavily favored out in this area. It is a perfect match for his demographics in other states.

Go back and now you see first votes coming in this county right here, Lane County, just over 9 percent of the state's population. And 31 percent immediately reported. The mail ballot, they count these votes during the day, they are reporting it quickly, 31 percent of the votes, 61 percent for Obama, 39 percent, that would track consistent with what you said our phone survey showed, a Barack Obama lead.

Eugene, a college town, one of the places where Obama was expected to do well and you can see already that number disappeared. This is what happens in the case like this. Some of the results are reported and more come in and so they disappear for a moment or two and then they come right back.

Thirty-one percent of 61/39. This is as the results come in live, they come in available to us. Now you see up here in the Portland area, this is the largest county in the state more than 19 percent of the population, a little bit closer in the margins up here. But 38 percent of the vote already in up there. 64 percent for Obama, 36 percent for Senator Clinton.

So you are looking at two key places that we wanted to watch, the early results are in the largest part of the state, the city of Portland and the suburbs right around it. Barack Obama, 60 percent or more of the vote.

And down here in Eugene and you see it is disappearing and that is just as the results get up here that will happen and that will come back momentarily. And again, another place we were looking for, Eugene, a college town and surrounding area, Obama winning. So in both cases, more than 60 percent of the vote for Barack Obama. But watch the rest of the results come in but that will track our phone service.

BLITZER: And I just want to remind our viewers, Oregon is unique because it is only by mail-in ballot. There are no polling precincts or anything like that. You just have to mail-in your ballot that will deliver the ballot to a polling station, if you will. But it is not a normal way of just going into a booth and pulling a lever or anything like that. This is a very different situation. As a result, we do not have exit polls, we have these voter phone surveys that we have done.

We have not been able to project a winner based on that, because there are a lot of variables that we are not 100 percent confident on. And we are lot more confident with the traditional exit polls because you actually speak to somebody as they walk out. We know that that person has actually voted. So this is going to be a fascinating way.

Take a look at this, John. Already 11 percent of this state has reported. It shows you how efficient and sophisticated Oregon is in terms of dealing with counting ballots.

J. KING: And when states started to switch to at least a partial mail vote, there were many questions about how do you secure the system? What will the high rate of fraud?

Not in Oregon, they will tell you, they believe it is a very secure system as you know they believe it is a much more efficient system and they believe because it is much easier that you can have a higher turnout and more participation.

You mentioned the interesting part about an exit poll, I am counting you and asking you questions, give you a questionnaire as you leave the polls. Here we have to make a telephone call and say are you a Democrat, did you vote in the primary?

And one of the interesting questions in an area like this or like Salem, college towns, younger voters, so many nowadays have cell phones. And so it is harder not impossible but harder for pollsters to reach people with cell phones, which is one of the reasons we did not decide to make a call on this election just based on the phone survey. We want to see the actual results because it is a bit different.

BLITZER: We will be getting large numbers that will be reporting very soon. As I say it is only been a few minutes since the polls closed in Oregon, already 11 percent have reported. And we are going to see these counties begin to lighten up with either dark blue for Barack Obama or light blue for Hillary Clinton I think fairly soon.

J. KING: And by this corner down here is where you should see, again, 75 percent of more of the state's population is in this corridor and you have an efficient counting system. So I would expect this part of the state to fill in quite quickly.

And if you come over here is more rural areas, where you expect it to be a little bit slower. Let us go back up and look at the area where Portland is here up to 38 percent of the vote. And again, that is amazing. The polls is closed, and now polls is opened so we are using traditional language that we have used in other states but voting will shut off, voting ended at 11:00 o'clock.

BLITZER: 6 1/2 minutes ago. J. KING: Six and a half minutes ago and already we are almost up to 48 percent of the vote. And again 64 percent for Obama, 36 percent for Clinton.

BLITZER: And almost 20 percent of the population in this county.

J. KING: And a higher percentage of Democrats in terms of --

BLITZER: You know I want you to do is show me the counties in Washington state which Obama carried as well, and in Northern California, and explain why he does so well in the Pacific Northwest.

J. KING: Go to our full county as you look up here. And again, you are seeing these states start to fill in. This is harder, this is the state of Oregon and we come back down. And then up in Washington, it is a different thing, because this is a Democratic caucus, so we do not have the county data like we did. But Barack Obama did very well, especially in King County where Seattle is down through this area here.

It is a caucus system, so we do not get the voting results reported to us the same way. So we do not have county by county. But if you do look you made the point about Northern California.

Senator Clinton won a convincing victory out in California, but if you look at Senator Obama he did do well up here in the more northern counties. Again, very small up here and very small up here, but we are learning as we go more and more, and we can pull out nationally and look at the county by county of the Democratic race and the map is almost filled in.

Well, Texas does not fill in because again, you had a primary and a caucus system. But we are learning more and more we talk a lot about Barack Obama gets 90 percent of the black vote. Hillary Clinton has done very well with white rural voters, white working class voters. We have talked a lot about that and recent weeks because of the contest here.

BLITZER: Let us go back to Oregon for a second. Because we are getting some more counties that are beginning to report.

J. KING: Affluence and education also matters. This is a college town here, again we are up to 30 percent of the vote, 61 percent for Obama, 39 percent for Senator Clinton; that is Lake County.

College area in Eugene and then the areas surrounding to it. More affluent Democrats, the median income is higher here, than it is in the state of Kentucky, the median price of a home is almost double in Oregon what it is in Kentucky, you have a more affluent voting community.

And in many Maryland, in many other states, in North Carolina even in that research triangle around Raleigh-Durham and that is where we saw Barack Obama's greatest strength, from East Coast to West Coast, education and affluence has been one of the dividing line. BLITZER: He may have trouble winning some of those white, working class voters whether in West Virginia or Kentucky today or someplace else. But out here in the Pacific Northwest, mostly white, he is doing really well.

J. KING: Yes, among these -- not to insult anyone, but more highly-educated white voters, he has done much better in this state and in many states. You can come across the map, again and remember his big win in the state of Maryland down here, and probably very much the same way in the Washington suburbs here, more affluent.

BLITZER: And Virginia too.

J. KING: Virginia, you had a combination. In Virginia if you come up, you have a combination of the African-American vote in Richmond area but also more the affluent suburbs just outside of Washington which you know quite well. With the Fairfax County and out by Dulles Airport, and the like, Barack Obama posting good numbers here and he has done it again from East to West.

And as we watch the results come in here, we are seeing here what we have seen again in other parts of the country. And let us see if the numbers update at all. Now the initial reporting of the voting, and you are seeing votes that have just come in the first votes from Salem.

And that's Marion County. Very quick and again, Barack Obama winning 53 percent to 47 percent with about half the vote in. That turnout is not huge, but again these are small Salem, a smaller city, than you will have up in the polling area, but as you see very quickly, these corridor along here which is where the majority of the people live, three quarters of the people of Oregon live right in here and a higher percentage of the Democrats are located right here in this corridor of the state.

BLITZER: This is a state also that, like Washington State, has a high-tech industry up there as well. And that's sort of tailor made for Barack Obama.

J. KING: Tailor-made for Barack Obama. And a state that was once the most Republican state in the West Coast. It used to be a state that went back and forth; has had a Republican government as you remember Senator Bob (inaudible) has had Republican legislators; more and more trending Democratic in recent elections.

But it is a state that has a history of voting Republican and a state where John McCain, was out campaigning recently, thinking his position on global climate change, and other issues could put it back in the swing state column.

So it is a state to watch tonight and at least early on you see this the green, if any of our viewers have gotten familiar with these through the campaign here, green means they are tied in this county at the moment.

And there you see, that is an amazing number, 1,676 votes to 1,676 votes with 71 percent in. So we will watch the final 29 percent of the votes come in Wasco County.

But essentially you have the dark blue is Barack Obama. The green is a tie. That will come back momentarily or maybe it will be updated and a lighter blue if we see any and you see it down here in California from the vote earlier. This is Senator Clinton's color. So as we watch the results come in it is quite fascinating you see those are updated and we came right back here.

BLITZER: Fifteen percent of the ballots have been counted in Oregon right now. And Hillary Clinton, 61 percent to 39 percent for Hillary Clinton and I want to be able to report to our viewers, John, we do have a projection.

We can project that Barack Obama will be the winner -- will be the winner in Oregon. Barack Obama, CNN projects will carry the state. We make that projection based on the voter phone polls, not exit polls, the voter phone polls that we have been conducting throughout the day. All the ballots in Oregon are mail-in ballots.

And the actual numbers that have come in so far. Barack Obama, the projected winner in Oregon. This was expected, just as Hillary Clinton was expected to win in Kentucky, which she won decisively. Right now 17 percent of the precincts in Oregon have reported the Barack Obama with 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Hillary Clinton.

If we take a look at the actual numbers that have been tallied so far, let us show it to our viewers in Oregon. There they are right there, 113,672 for Barack Obama; 73,531 for Hillary Clinton. This is with 17 percent of the precincts reporting.

And those numbers are going to come up very quickly because they have got it down to a science in Oregon counting these mail-in ballots. Many of them have been coming in now for the past several weeks. They have given voters there an opportunity to use the mail so you do not have to go and wait in line, do not have to take time off from work. They can just go mail in their ballot. That was what they have been doing for the past several weeks in Oregon.

And right now once again, we project that Barack Obama will be the winner in Oregon. Once again, Hillary Clinton the winner earlier this evening in Kentucky.,, that is, that is the place where you can see these numbers coming in county by county all the time., you can see the numbers change. Good place to watch us and have your laptop there at the same time.

Our coverage will continue for the CNN Election Center. Much more coming up right after this.


BLITZER: Senator Barack Obama carries Oregon. We project that he will be the winner the primary in Oregon. Hillary Clinton carried Kentucky earlier. Right now, 25 percent of the vote has been counted in Oregon. It is all mail-in ballot. Barack Obama with 60 percent to 40 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Let us take a look and see the actual numbers that have been counted. So far a quarter of the votes have been counted, 151,000 or so for Barack Obama; 99,500 for Hillary Clinton. Pretty impressive win, if it holds along those lines.

But let us see how it changes over the course of the next few minutes. They do this very, very quickly in Oregon, because all of these ballots were mailed in. These are counties, the dark blue counties you can see where Barack Obama is ahead right now.

That one sort of grayish green county is a tie, at least right now. The light blue counties where Hillary Clinton is ahead, but we are watching it. Still 75 percent of the ballots outstanding.

Let us go to Bill Schneider because he's got some exit poll numbers that are coming in. What are we learning about these voters in Oregon and earlier in the day for that matter in Kentucky?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Telephone polls, not exit polls because there was no polling place to exit.

BLITZER: That is correct, I stand corrected.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, that is right, they were telephone polls. There were two big reasons why Barack Obama carried the state of Oregon. One, education. Oregon Democrats have a lot of that. Those who did not go to college voted for Hillary Clinton.

But take a look at Oregon voters, the Democrats today who did go to college. They voted for Obama by a 20-point margin. And you know what? They were 78 percent of the voters in among Oregon Democrats. It is a very well-educated Democratic Party and that was the key to Obama's victory.

Second factor, religion. In this case, they do not have a lot of that. Protestant voters were split. Catholic voters were split. The key to Obama's victory were voters who said they do not have any religion or they have some other religion other than Protestant or Catholic or Mormon or Muslim or Jewish.

These are voters with other or no religion. They voted for Obama 62 percent, Clinton 36 percent. And you know what? That was 38 percent. 38 percent of the voters in Oregon are non-Protestant, non- Catholic, non-Mormon, non-Muslim and non-Jewish. A big voting group and they are the ones who put Barack Obama over the top.

BLITZER: It was very different than what we saw as far as religion is concerned, in Kentucky belt.

SCHNEIDER: A totally different religious culture, it is well educated, it is far less religion, less traditionalist in religion. And that is where Barack Obama prospered. BLITZER: All right, Bill, thanks very much. Bill is going to continue to crunch those numbers.

I'm going to walk over to Anderson Cooper right now. He has got some analysis from the best political team on television.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we have been looking at some of the exit polls from Kentucky, in particular the issue of race. Voters who said that race was important in making their decision or is the factor in making their decision.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is more disquieting news I think for Barack Obama as he looks for the general election.

COOPER: One in five I think.

GERGEN: It was about 21 percent that race was a factor. Nine out of ten of those voted for Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: And that is people that would admit it to a complete strangers taking these exit polls theoretically it would be even larger those who would not admit it.

GERGEN: And from her point of view, over a quarter of the people who voted for her today in Kentucky were people who said race was a factor in their decision. And it really means -- I mean, she's been talking about sexism in this race and she has complained about some in the last 24 hours.

You know race is really playing an increasing issue. And it also raises the question in my judgment of whether she shouldn't say, you know, if you want to vote against him because he's black, I don't want your vote. I don't want to win that way. This has no place in this primary.

COOPER: Do you see her saying that?

GERGEN: Well, she has been a champion -- she's been a champion of civil rights for a long, long time. She and her husband both have I think well-earned reputations in the civil rights front. She's never had redneck votes before in her life.

I see no reason why she couldn't take the high road here in the closing days of his campaign and try to take this on and take on the Reverend Wright issue to say, "Look, I campaigned with this fellow for 15 months. I know a lot of you people don't think he shares your values that somehow Barack thinks like Reverend Wright. Not true. I know him. I have been with him. And race should come out of this."

I think she could do a lot by taking a high road.

COOPER: Reverend Wright also showed up in these exit polls.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, in the state of Kentucky, 54 percent of the voters said Barack Obama shares the views of Reverend Wright. That's something we saw also in West Virginia.

And does Barack Obama share your values? 53 percent of the voters in Kentucky said, "No, he doesn't." This is some of the repair work that he's got to do in terms of the voters that Hillary Clinton is getting.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Hillary Clinton ought to keep in mind, I think, the long view here. She's got many more years in public life ahead of her. Taking the high road at this point, saying I don't want racists to vote for me, saying that this is about something bigger than just strategizing the last few races. I think that would stand her in very good stead.

BORGER: Very late for that. What in Montana and South Dakota?

TOOBIN: I mean, she might as well say it, because I think it would make a difference. This race has been so polarized along the issues of race and, frankly, I think most people blame her for that than they blame Obama. And to leave, if she's in fact leaving on the high road, would do a world of good.

GERGEN: She could do it on Reverend Wright. She could still take that on before she leaves this race.

BORGER: Yes and continue it through the fall.

COOPER: We want to talk more about this issue. We're going take a short break. Our coverage continues --, check it out on line as well.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: We're getting more results from the state of Oregon. Let's check in with John King at the chairman of the board, if you will, at the magic map. John, what are we seeing now?

J. KING: Anderson, what we are seeing is very efficient vote reporting by the state of Oregon. We're up now to 35 percent of the vote.

As you can see up here, Senator Obama leading Senator Clinton 60- 40. That's the main swath of the population of the state as we talked about earlier is right down through here. More than three quarters of the people of Oregon live along the west coast, up here and just inland.

Let me block this out. We'll take a look at it county by county. The most populated area is right here where the city of Portland is and about 19 percent of the state population there and again about 38 percent of the vote in there; 64-36, so Senator Obama running up a big margin where the people are.

That helps you statewide obviously as well. But this is the most populated area. If you come through these counties, you just make your way down, 52-48. Salem, university town, 53-47. So Senator Obama running up pretty impressive numbers; even a small county there, 55-45.

When I shrink the state back down, and just show you where it is coming in, we do have one county up here that's tied; Wasco County about 1,676 votes each with 71 percent of the vote in there. We'll wait for more of that.

And Senator Clinton is carrying some of these smaller counties; 55-45 at 58 percent of (inaudible) only 2,500 votes she has to be slightly ahead of Senator Obama by about 470 votes there. This smaller county out here as well, Baker County, she's leading him by three votes in Baker County with 80 percent of the vote in. So we'll watch how that works out.

But out here in this part of the state, it's very rural, sparsely populated. Most of the people, Anderson, are right down in here. And this county here -- just switched for Senator Clinton, now it has gone back. We'll see how the results come in there as it keeps coming in.

Most of the people live right in here. The results are coming in pretty quickly. We're up to just shy of 40 percent of the vote now; Senator Obama with 59 percent, Senator Clinton with 41 percent. And we'll watch as more of the results come in here. But at the moment, it looks like a pretty impressive victory for Barack Obama. We'll watch more of the results as they come in.

COOPER: We'll watch the results. We'll check in with you again John. You can also check the results as they come in online

We're discussing with our panel the issue of race and this race in Kentucky in exit polls. We saw that one out of five voters said race was a factor in the decision they made and the vast majority of them voted for Hillary Clinton of those who said that.

Donna Brazile, what does that tell you about this race and about what Barack Obama has ahead of him?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it says that the voters of Kentucky preferred Senator Clinton. The Clintons have had over 20 years, two decades to really reach out to those voters. They know the Clintons very well. They loved Bill Clinton as president and there's no question that I think that played a much larger role than race.

Look, there's a Los Angeles times poll out just a few weeks ago. Forty-one percent of white voters say they would back Senator Obama. Forty-five percent said they would back John McCain. We can make a mountain out of a mole hill and say that all of a sudden race is the number one factor. But I think there are other issues that play.

Senator Obama is new to the political scene, some voters don't know him. Early on, black voters did not know him and they were backing Senator Clinton. So as voters get to know him, they're more comfortable with him. They've begun to trust him and know where he stands on the issues. I think Senator Obama will do much better have those voters.

COOPER: Do you agree with that, David?

GERGEN: Well, she may be right. And I'm not sure.

My sense, Anderson, is that the race card is being played more heavily today than it was in the beginning of the campaign. And that there is somehow now an increasing sense of the culture almost legitimizing racial comments by opponents.

I mean, there were things like this back in New Hampshire, but there were some ugly incidents in places like Pennsylvania. And Barack Obama didn't even campaign in Kentucky and West Virginia in part because I think he faced some of these barriers.

I do think that racism is starting to rear its head in ways we haven't seen in the campaign. I think it's important to take it on. And I think it's important for the Democratic Party to take it on.

You know, race has been a big issue in our politics through our whole history. And we're seeing it play out in some parts of the country. This is not a racist country. I do think these are pockets of racism, but I think it's there and it's -- if it casts a shadow over this race, it's going to be really tragic in many ways.

COOPER: Paul Begala, David Gergen was suggesting Hillary Clinton address it head on, saying if folks are voting for me because they do not want to vote for a African-American candidate, I don't want their vote.

PAUL BEGALA, CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think perhaps David's advice to talk about Reverend Wright or other things that maybe some voters are using it as a proxy for race probably a better thing. Barack Obama, as the African-American in the race, gave an important speech in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center where he took race on directly.

But I think it's harder frankly, if you're behind and if you're the white person in the race, to then get up and start talking about race and everything. People may even take that the wrong way. I think it's better to do what Senator Obama did tonight. Speak to working class whites, blacks, Latinos and Asians right to those economic interests.

We have found -- look, when Bill Clinton started running and the Gennifer Flowers and the draft; all these scandals came out. Huge percentages of Americans said they could never vote for somebody that cheated on his wife.

Guess what? They were convinced that this young man had a head full of good ideas that might fix the economy. I think that's what Barack Obama was saying tonight. His appeal to transcend race I think is more important than Hillary standing up there and confronting it.

COOPER: Jamal, you're an Obama supporter, do you agree? JAMAL SIMMONS, OBAMA SUPPORTER: You know, race has been a factor in our American politics for a long time. When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he said, "I may be dooming the Democratic Party in the south for the next two generations," and found out he was probably right.

The reality is I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Race is always a part of the politics of Detroit and its suburbs. It's true probably throughout Ohio and Indiana and Pennsylvania. So it's going to be a part of this dialogue. There's no way we're going to get through this campaign and not have a conversation about race.

What I do think though we have is we have a candidate in Barack Obama who is particularly able to sort of appeal to people on an issue and say, you know, we understand we've had these differences. We can spend a lot of time shooting at each other about these differences or we can try to figure out how work together to solve some of these problems.

And I think a lot of Americans are listening to him. We saw it in earlier polls and we saw it in Indiana. But the reality is Democratic voters or Democratic candidates do not win the majority of the white vote in general elections. And that's been true whether it's been John Kerry or Bill Clinton any other Democrat that's run nationally.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The way you bring people together is you lead. And tonight, I thought Barack Obama did a pretty darn good job of that. He didn't speak to just Democrats, he spoke to Republicans.

In that speech tonight, he said what is change? Change is a tax code that rewards work. That's a Republican could have said that. Change is an energy policy that doesn't go buddying up to the Saudi royal family. Pat Buchanan has said that. Change is turning off your TV set and keeping the video games away from your kids. Mike Huckabee has said that.

Tonight he said, he just gave a speech I thought -- change is fighting the war in Afghanistan. George bush has said that. So I thought he gave a speech tonight that was very inclusive, very broad, very Republican as well as Democrat. Pretty strong general election speech.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: That's a couple of good points. I think John McCain laid out where he wants to take this country for the next four years. It would be great to see Barack Obama and Clinton for that matter lay out where they want to be so that we can all look at it and really line those things together.

But I think I want to go back to the issue of race. You can't deny there's a racial undertone in the Democratic Party. That's very strong --

SIMMONS: It's in the Republican Party too.

COOPER: What do you mean just in the Democratic Party?

SANCHEZ: Because the Democratic Party very much to what Jamal was saying was built on the civil rights platform. It's definitely part of the movement.

I don't think Hillary Clinton anticipated she would lose so much support among African-Americans that she would only get 10 percent -- 8 percent in the way she did against Barack Obama. That's significant.

But also this gender issue. When you have Geraldine Ferraro come out and say that many are sexists. You're dividing -- those are wedge issues that are dividing very much African-American voters and women voters and it's hard to see how those two come together.

And I just want to say one last point. Of the 19 states John Kerry won in 2004, nine would have been lost without this gender vote. So both on the issue of ethnicity which is going to be critical, but the issue of gender is going to be critical.

COOPER: So Carl, if you Barack Obama, how do you go about addressing those one in five voters?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He's really frustrated and we're not seeing the degree of frustration because Hillary Clinton has put him in a bad place. And I've been talking to major Democrats who support Hillary Clinton tonight and who say that they fear that this thing is getting out of control. That Obama is being very damaged by his being constrained by having to just take the high road, be nice, don't say anything about her while she hammers away with her message.

And increasingly this question of race, as Hillary Clinton raised the other night, when she talked about, well, white, working people are voting for me. These wedge questions, she now has a movement. Barack Obama had a real movement at the beginning of his campaign. She didn't.

She now has a movement and that movement is now saying make her the nominee or we have to have new rules and we're not going to go along with you. It's a really an extraordinary situation. That now that she has this movement behind her, women, working class whites to a large extent, she's found her voice, she's found her groove, she and her very vociferous acolytes are saying change the rules so we can win at the last minute because we now have a movement.

And I think the people are worried around Obama as well as people who supported her that this thing is getting out of control and he's a weaker candidate now unless he can really start going after John McCain. I know Begala disagrees with me.

BEGALA: That's preposterous. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama has run even a single negative ad in at least the last three primaries. I cannot remember a time we've gone that long in either party without the two principal -- and in their speeches tonight, both of them. I think Hillary Clinton -- she said that Obama is an admirable man. That's important. That's vouching for his values. I think, sort of the thing that David Gergen was looking for without being quite so overt. This is a good man with good values.

Senator Obama is the same thing. He was very gracious towards Hillary Clinton. Talked about the 30 years that she had been working fighting for change in our country; this is not damaging.

GERGEN: But is this helping both of them?

BEGALA: Absolutely. They've both raised $50 million in the last month.

GERGEN: I'm skeptical because I don't think that they believe it.

BEGALA: Look at the data. But the data are more voters, more contributors, more volunteers, more interests -- all up. David, we can whine and wring our hands but the objective data is that both candidates are doing quite well.

CASTELLANOS: Then why don't you want this to go on until the convention?

BEGALA: They're not hurting each other.

SIMMONS: Let's get back to Paul's point that he just made. They're actually not hurting each other. They're having an argument about process. Do you include certain states, what's the right number, I'm winning here and you're winning there.

They're not arguing about where one person is over health care or somebody else is wrong about the war in Iraq. They're not in that conversation anymore. And they are not airing negative ads at each other.

So I think Democrats are nervous. If you saw a little more negativity start to come out; but that's not what's happening. What we're doing is we're finishing out a process like a marathon -- I mean a runner in a marathon who wants to finish the race. And I think everybody is sort of feeling -- most of the Democrats --

BERNSTEIN: If that's the case, why are so many followers of each saying that they will not support the nominee?

SIMMONS: Because they're in the middle of a tough fight. They're going to fight it out to the end.

BERNSTEIN: You always have some of that but I've never seen this degree of it.

COOPER: We've got to take a break. Discussion will continue during commercial break. We'll have more coming up.

We got to take a short break., our coverage continues. We're getting more results in from Oregon. We'll bring it out to you too when we come back.


COOPER: Our coverage continues. We're watching results come in from Oregon. John King will bring those to us shortly.

But let's check in with Candy Crowley who is in Louisville, Kentucky and Suzanne Malveaux who is in Des Moines, Iowa tracking both campaigns.

Let's start with Candy Crowley. Candy, what are you hearing in terms of the reaction from John McCain to what Barack Obama had to say tonight?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they just put out a statement; always nice to get in on the action when the Democrats are sort of sucking up all the TV oxygen. So what they said was, you know, without a doubt, Barack Obama is a talented political orator. But they went on to say look, he supports unconditional summits with foreign leaders who are enemies of the U.S. He wants to raise taxes on what they believe are traditional liberal positions Barack Obama holds.

I was struck by one thing John McCain said at the very end of this when he said that what America needs is "a commander-in-chief who is ready from day one," that is totally from Hillary Clinton's campaign. That has been the experience that she's been arguing all along with that very same -- the very same wording, Anderson.

So what will be interesting to see is we do always see John McCain mirroring the kind of assaults that Hillary Clinton has launched against Barack Obama. But as we see right now, Hillary Clinton still is behind Barack Obama. So whether John McCain can get any more traction out of is something I guess we'll know during the general campaign.

COOPER: When the party is over in politics, it is really over. Clearly they are tearing apart the podium where there was a big party a short time ago.

Candy, you're doing a great job of contending with all the banging and the noise. Stay tuned -- stay there.

We want to check in with Suzanne Malveaux, who is in Des Moines, Iowa. Suzanne, where does Barack Obama go from here, does he head to Florida tomorrow?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He heads to FLORIDA tomorrow. I had a chance to talk to David Axelrod, his chief strategist. And essentially what they're feeling is that they're really handicapped when it comes to the nine months that they've ignored Michigan and Florida for the most part for violating the party rules. So they really feel that they have to make up some lost ground when it comes to going against John McCain in a critical, critical state. Also, asked him as well, there was a lot of talk about whether or not Barack Obama would declare victory this evening. He said they never planned on declaring victory going that far because they really wanted to and needed to show a certain amount of deference and respect for Senator Clinton.

And what was interesting about the speech tonight, Anderson, was that he really did say some things he hadn't said before. We've heard him try to reach out to Senator Clinton and supporters. But he said this evening that really she paved the way, she broke barriers and that this really paved the way for his own daughters.

And we saw his daughters on stage with his wife Michelle. You saw them and even accompanying them in the rope line. That was really a first for this family to put them out like that and to make that specific reference talking about what Hillary Clinton has done, really paving the way for his own daughters. Obviously trying to reach out and trying to give that kind of deference and respect, but also trying to win over her supporters -- Anderson.

COOPER: And Candy Crowley in Louisville, where does Hillary Clinton go from here. She goes to Florida as well?

CROWLEY: Wow, guess what? She's going to Florida tomorrow. Listen, this is one of the linchpins of her superdelegate argument, which is we cannot go to this convention with only 48 states represented.

She wants the Florida delegates to be seated. She wants the Michigan delegates to be seated. Obviously she wants them to be seated in proportion to her wins in both states. That's not going to happen.

Nonetheless, this has been one of those things that she's said, "I'm going to keep going until Florida and Michigan are represented at that convention in Denver." So she's going down there obviously to make her point again and again. Because not only do they know that they get delegates out of this but they can then also argue that the popular vote in both those states also belong to them.

As you know, she's increasingly been suggesting that she leads in the popular vote. There are various ways to add that up, but obviously her tallies in Michigan and Florida would help -- Anderson.

COOPER: Candy Crowley in Kentucky. Suzanne Malveaux in Des Moines, Iowa. Thank you both. We appreciate it.

Larry King is standing by. He's going to take over our midnight Eastern Time. Larry, what have you got?


We'll grab the baton here with the latest on the two primaries today, analysis, discussion and debate. Lots of lively action going on at, as you said, midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific Time.

COOPER: Larry will be here at the top of the hour. We'll get those color bars removed. And we're going to take a short break.

Our coverage continues right after this break. A lot more numbers coming in from Oregon as well as more analysis from our panel. We'll be right back.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, "SITUATION ROOM": And welcome back to the CNN Election Center. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.

Fifty percent of the vote in Oregon now officially in; 58 percent for Barack Obama, 42 percent for Hillary Clinton. We've projected a win in Oregon for Barack Obama. Earlier Hillary Clinton carried Kentucky decisively.

Let's take a closer look at Oregon and what we know right now. With half of the vote in, this is looking to be a good night for Barack Obama, John King, in Oregon.

J. KING: A good night in Oregon, Wolf. And by any other standards we would say a huge night in Oregon except for the huge margin Senator Clinton had -- more than 30 points -- in Kentucky. So this win is a little smaller for Obama by comparison.

But as you watch the map fill in, as you noted 50 percent of the vote in. He's winning just shy of 60 percent at 58 right now and politics, when you boil it all down is about simple math. And how he's winning is by getting more votes where the population centers are. Portland, the biggest population center in the state -- more than 19 percent of the state's population; Obama winning 64 percent there.

You pull back out. Another population center down here, Salem, smaller, 8 percent of the population in this county here. Obama winning 53 percent right there with a little more than half the vote counted. And again you come down Eugene, in Medford, these are the major population areas of the state Obama is winning in the larger areas.

Senator Clinton is starting to pull in some of these counties, but I just want to show you. You pull out a county, Douglas County, 3 percent of the population, Senator Clinton winning not a large number of the votes there, Wolf. She has 6,220 votes, that's 58 percent of voters and she's winning 52 percent to 48.

So where she is winning tends to be in much more smaller population centers, very rural counties. Like Crook County here, less than 1 percent of the state population, 871 votes gets her 53 percent of the votes.

Where you see the lighter blue, it's Senator Clinton winning in rural counties where there are much fewer people. Senator Obama running up bigger numbers where the population centers are. And if anyone wonders what the green is, green means a tie. In Wasco County it's a tie. This came in earlier, 1,676 votes apiece, 71 percent of the vote in that county. We're still waiting for more of the votes. Senator Obama winning by nature of his big margins in Portland and Eugene and down in Medford; Senator Clinton, winning in sparsely rural areas.

We're starting to allocate the delegates out of Oregon as well. Senator Clinton will get her share because of the Democratic Party rules but every delegate Barack Obama gets takes him closer to that finish line and in that regard he's getting closer and closer to the finish line. He's at 1,941.

An easier way to look at it is this way right here. You can see that, you don't need to do the math to see that. Barack Obama is much closer to the finish line and a very small pool of delegates left because only three contests left in the Democratic race.

BLITZER: And we have now 1,636 pledged delegates, that's more than half. So he's gotten more than the elected pledged delegates, the majority of those. That's why he in part made that speech in Iowa tonight saying he can see the finish line already coming but he's not there yet. Still three more contests to go after today.

Let's go back to Anderson Cooper and the best political team on television. Get ready, Anderson, we have Puerto Rico, we got Montana and South Dakota.

COOPER: Yes, we're ready. We're going to be here. No problem. I can't remember a time when I was not here, frankly. I was born on this set.

David Gergen, it is a relatively small number of delegates that Barack Obama needs.

GERGEN: Yes, I think one of the things I hadn't fully understood until talking to Donna and then listening to John King, it's -- he's down to 85 now from the finish line. And if he just splits the delegates that are left in the remaining three states, all he needs is about 25 or just a couple of dozen of the remaining superdelegates who haven't committed.

And there are over 200 superdelegates left. In other words, he only needs a very small percentage of the superdelegates and it just seems to me there must be a lot of superdelegates who are there for him in that crowd of 200.

TOOBIN: It's unrealistic to talk about splitting the superdelegates when in fact Obama has been winning the overwhelming majority of the superdelegates.

GERGEN: What I'm saying is it just shows you how close he is.

TOOBIN: Exactly. And that's why it seems to me almost inconceivable that this story could turn out any other way because he's been winning 75 percent of the superdelegates since March.

BORGER: And it's been a trickle. At some point the trickle is not going to be a trickle anymore. They are just all going to --

GERGEN: But does it not raise the question, Gloria, that he could be generous with the Democratic --

BORGER: Well, that's my point.

GERGEN: I know he doesn't control it, this is your vote, Donna, but isn't he in a position he could agree to some deal for Florida and Michigan?

BORGER: That's been my point. Why not give Hillary Clinton a lot of what she's asking for, seem magnanimous, be a problem-solver. "Hillary Clinton here was my arch enemy, now I'm going to give her what she wants and we're going to go to the convention together and I'm still going to win."

BRAZILE: First of all, he's not the nominee of the party ad therefore he doesn't have the votes to tell the rules committee what to do. And secondly, we're going to have to abide by the same rules that we used penalized Florida and Michigan for violating the rule on timing to see if we can reduce the penalty, impose another penalty, and then look at the former. I mean, this is not about Senator Obama, Senator Clinton.

BORGER: But can't the campaigns get together? They're going to have to get together before your meeting.

BRAZILE: I would hope that they would sit down, and not just sit down and say okay, how will we divide the pie if the rules committee decides to put more delegates in play?

I think what we'll try to do is maintain the penalty but to provide delegates for those two states to participate in the contest in Denver.

GERGEN: What this all suggests to me at least is he's close enough now and she's close enough to the end that both of them could afford to take the high road and really help the party because they now face a very tough race against John McCain. It's going to be a very tough race, even though the landscape favors Democrats. If they both take the high road, they can do more to heal this quickly.

And I think almost anything else could be --

BRAZILE: I agree. I would hope that they would take the high road. And I wanted to mention something. We talked about race. A couple hours ago Senator John McCain announced that he will attend the NAACP convention this summer in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Again, I think this speaks to the larger issue of what kind of president we want in 2008. Do we want a president that can bring us together or a president that will continue to polarize this country?

I think after Hurricane Katrina, this country has had enough of being polarized and divided. We want the country to come together. I think that's what you'll see in these two candidates this fall. COOPER: What do you make of their comments now circulating on the Web, Chuck Hagel, apparently made on the Huffington Post. He was allegedly speaking to a small gathering with the residents of the Italian Ambassador, and he said "I'm very upset with John," he was talking about John McCain, "with some of the things he's been saying and I can't get over the psychoanalysis of it but I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he's saying. John is a man who reads a lot, he's been around the world. I want him to get above that. And maybe when he gets into the general election and becomes the general election candidate, he'll have a higher level of discourse on these things."

What is Chuck Hagel doing?

BORGER: I think he's perhaps looking for a place in the Obama administration. I mean, I don't mean to make light of it. What's interesting is that he and John McCain are -- were very close friends, both Vietnam veterans. They were kind of the buddies in the senate. And this has been a very tough thing for both of them on the Iraq war, their separation.

The thing that he really took umbrage with McCain on is this notion that you confuse diplomatic engagement with capitulation and he says that's not what Barack Obama in fact is doing at all and that John McCain knows better than that. It's very interesting coming from Hagel.

TOOBIN: In fairness to Chuck Hagel, his disagreement with John McCain is not simply a matter of politics. It's a very serious policy disagreement about the war in Iraq. And that is the whole basis of their conflict.

And I think it's sincere on both sides. They really do disagree about whether this war should have been started, how it's been conducted, and where we should go from here.

BORGER: Hagel almost ran for the presidency on that one particular issue.

GERGEN: John McCain is almost -- John McCain and Chuck Hagel are very much alike. They are both mavericks in their own way and they had this close relationship.

And I think that these last two, three years have been very difficult for Chuck Hagel in the Senate because he's broken with his president in so many significant ways and now he's breaking with his friend John McCain. And it's over issues he considers issues of principle. This is not about petty politics.

Would he be a good appointment for Barack Obama in the national government? Yes, I do think he'd be a very good appointment. But is he looking for that? I don't think so. I think he's gone public tonight apparently he's at the Italian Embassy tonight what Huffingtonpost reporters are reporting on with some of the private reservations he's been expressing to others in recent days.

COOPER: But the focus is the war in Iraq.

GERGEN: And Iran. How to deal with the S. He's saying basically that Obama is right about saying we need to start talking to these people. We need to engage them. What Gloria said, engagement in his view is not appeasement.

BORGER: And you know Donna was saying earlier that he's kind of like what Joe Lieberman is to the Democratic Party in that sense. That they're both now these pariahs in their own parties because they don't share beliefs on the war in Iraq.

BRAZILE: I think he's speaking the truth in terms of the substance of what he's saying to John McCain. And if John McCain is serious about trying to win, I mean, look, he's using an old playbook that is no longer useful today in American terms of our military engagement. And if John McCain is interested in learning the truth, I think Chuck Hagel has just given him a good dose of it.

COOPER: Our coverage continues right now.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is standing by in Los Angeles to take the rest of this hour out for us. We're showing "LARRY KING LIVE" right now. Larry?