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The Situation Room
Martin Luther King Jr. Honored in Memphis; Clintons Release Tax Records; Martin Luther King III Addresses Memphis; Michigan Democrats: 'No Do-Over?
Aired April 04, 2008 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And happening now: on the march in Memphis -- 40 years after Martin Luther King's assassination, this hour, the presidential candidates remember old hurts and try to off new hope. Are they making the most of King's legacy?
Also this hour, new insight into Hillary Clinton's income. Her long-awaited tax returns are out. We're going through all of those numbers and we will tell you what we have learned.
And John McCain bows to reality and the risks of running for president. Why did he put off accepting Secret Service protection for so long?
Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, along with the best political team on television. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
This hour, the eyes of the nation are on the small Memphis motel where a civil rights icon was killed and where his dream lives on. Right now, people are gearing up for a vigil marking the 40 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Two of the presidential candidates went to Memphis today to that very hotel to honor the Reverend King, his sacrifice and his legacy.
Democrat Hillary Clinton made it very personal, talking about where she was on that day in 1968.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will never forget where I was when I heard Dr. King had been killed. I was a junior in college. And I remember hearing about it and just feeling such despair. I walked into my dorm room and took my bookbag and hurled it across the room. It felt like everything had been shattered, like we would never be able to put the pieces together again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Republican John McCain's trip to Memphis today was more about honoring the Reverend King. More than that, it was about admitting a mistake. McCain tried to explain why he once voted against creating a national Martin Luther King holiday. Some skeptics in the crowd even booed.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can be slow as well to give greatness its due, a mistake I myself made long ago when I voted against a federal holiday in memory of Dr. King.
MCCAIN: I was wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you!
MCCAIN: I was wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all make mistakes. We all make mistakes.
MCCAIN: I was wrong and eventually realized that in time, in time to give full support, full support for a state holiday in my home state of Arizona. I would remind you that we can all be a little late sometimes in doing the right thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Barack Obama chose to mark this historic day not in Memphis, but in Indiana. The Democrat Vying to be the nation's first African-American president honored the Reverend King just as his rivals did, but Obama seemed to talk more about the economy than about race.
CNN contributor Roland Martin joining us from Memphis.
Roland, are you all set? Can you hear us?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I can.
MALVEAUX: OK. Great.
I want to start off talking a little bit about McCain, because you were there when he gave this apology saying that he was wrong. I remember when I was a kid, our parents used to keep us home from school that day to boycott the fact that it was not a holiday. Until it became a holiday, we went to church that day. There were folks in the audience who seemed to forgive McCain and there were others who were still angry.
What was the sense, the general tone of the audience, when they listened to his mea culpa today?
MARTIN: Well, I mean, Suzanne, for the most part, it was respectful. When he came out, there were some folks who clapped, some people who booed. And it sort of a mixed feeling.
And, obviously, when he made that particular comment, it did stir up some emotions in people. And, look, we have heard many politicians who voted against that federal holiday say the exact same thing, that, years later, I should not have voted that way.
For a lot of African-Americans, they say, look, this was important then. It's important now. And some people said they saw it as politics that he would issue such an apology on this day.
MALVEAUX: We also heard from Senator Obama on this day, many people looking at him as the candidate who really embodied Dr. King's dream.
Let's take a listen to what he said out of Indiana.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The struggle for economic justice remains an unfinished part of the King legacy, because the dream is still out of reach for too many Americans.
Just this morning, it was announced that more Americans are unemployed now than at any time in years. And all across this country, families are facing rising costs, stagnant wages, and the terrible burden of losing a home. Part of the problem is that for a long time we have had a politics that's been too small for the scale of the challenges we face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Roland, that is a message that we are hearing here on television, but not the message that those people in Memphis were hearing from Barack Obama personally today, unless they were tuning in on their television screens there.
Did he need to be in Memphis at that motel with the rest of the candidates today?
MARTIN: You know what? There are a lot of people here who said he should have been here. There are others who said he shouldn't.
And you know what? It's one of those arguments that, frankly, you can't win. I talked to one guy who said, look, he needed to be where he is because he's actually living the dream, while some people here are reminiscing about the dream.
So, you had the argument going back and forth. It's a very difficult one. And the bottom line is here. Hillary Clinton talked about the economy as well. Obama talked about the economy.
And, Suzanne, a lot of folks forget. In King's "I have a dream" speech, we all focus on the content of character, but really the top two-thirds, he talked about the economic gap that exists between African-Americans and whites.
And, so, if you really want to think about, you have got a choice. Do you come here and reflect or do you stay focused on trying to become president? It's really a tossup. So, I finally will say it's split 50/50 how the folks out here feel. MALVEAUX: Well, Roland, thanks so much for putting it quite a fight today. Your voice, I know it's giving a little bit. You have done an incredible job. Thanks again, Roland.
Now a new glimpse into Hillary Clinton's person finances. Her campaign today released the Clintons' income tax returns going back to 2000, this after weeks of anticipation and allegations of foot- dragging.
Our Brian Todd has been going through all of this information.
Brian, what have you learned so far? Lots of details.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are, Suzanne.
A Clinton campaign official told us, when everyone finishes combing through all of this, these tax returns are going to look pretty boring to most people. But, at first look, just the figures themselves are pretty eye-popping.
TODD (voice-over): She says she will rescind President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans if she gets his job, says she got those breaks and didn't need them.
CLINTON: Now, I never thought I would say this, but ever since my husband got out of full-time public service, he's actually made money, much to both of our amazement.
TODD: Did he ever. Just released tax records show Hillary and Bill Clinton had gross income of about $89 million between 2000 and 2006, nearly half of it from the former president's speeches.
They got more than $40 million after taxes during those six years, showing why she's classified by one watchdog groups as one of the 10 wealthiest senators. The Clintons' figures dwarfed the combined incomes of Barack and Michelle Obama, whose combined gross income was under $4 million for the same time period.
The Clinton's donated more than 8 percent of their income to charity. That was more than twice the percentage donated by the Obamas. Mrs. Clinton had been under intense pressure to release these tax records, amid questions from the Obama campaign and others about at least one source of their wealth.
JEANNE CUMMINGS, LOBBYING AND MONEY CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO.COM: There are some questions about the former president's involvement with overseas companies, and what his role was, and what his compensation has been.
TODD: Specifically, a holding company called Yucaipa, registered in the Cayman Islands. Bill Clinton, the records show, got a $15 million payout from Yucaipa for what the campaign calls his role as an adviser and investor.
TODD: The Obama campaign had openly questioned whether Bill Clinton's involvement in Yucaipa constituted some kind of tax shelter. A Clinton campaign spokesman told us absolutely not.
He said the former president paid U.S. taxes on that income. The campaign says there are no shelters are hidden taxes in this return. But, Suzanne, we just got these documents late today, lots of digging ahead.
MALVEAUX: Sure. And one point. You and I have read their books, Clinton and Obama's books, how do they compare in terms of how much money they made?
TODD: Well, she kind of clobbers him on that score as well. Obama got $1.7 million from sales of his books. Hillary Clinton, just from sales of her book "Living History," got over $10 million.
MALVEAUX: Wow. OK. Thanks for all the details. I know there are a lot more you will be digging through, a long night. Thanks, Brian.
Jack Cafferty now joining us with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Here's something that General David Petraeus probably doesn't look forward to talking about when he delivers his progress report on Iraq next week to the Congress of the United States down in Washington.
More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and police refused to fight during the battle against Shiite militias in Basra a last week. One senior U.S. military official said this: "They put down their arms. They walked away. They deserted, whatever you want to call it." That's a quote.
Remember how President Bush said when the Iraqis stand up, then the United States can stand down? He didn't tell us what to do if they just run away. "The New York Times" says the deserters included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki responded by funneling 10,000 recruits from local Shiite tribes into the army. That made the Sunni tribe members angry, because the government has been less eager to recruit them. And that's a paying job. And, of course, it turns out, U.S. forces were more involved in Basra than we were originally told or thought. Imagine that -- 550 of our troops backed up the shaky Iraqi operation, which came to an end only when Muqtada al-Sadr decided to stop fighting and lay down his arms, on instructions from Iran.
All this comes as the latest national intelligence estimate paints a far more positive picture about progress in Iraq. Congressional sources say that the NIE suggests the president's surge policy is working. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has issued a warning to General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker not to, "put a shine" on recent events in Iraq when they testify next week.
Here's the question. What the United States' future in Iraq if more than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers refused to fight in Basra last week?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jack.
John McCain kept saying no, but now he's taking new steps to make sure that he's protected from danger. We will look at the lengths being taken to keep McCain safe and why now.
Plus, a growing sense of gloom hanging over the nation and the campaign for the White House -- a starting new look at Americans' fears for the future.
And what happened to a U.S. bomber? A landing that went dangerously wrong in the Middle East.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
MALVEAUX: There's disturbing news regarding the already-troubled U.S. economy. Last month, there were thousands more job losses than experts expected.
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider joining me now.
And, Bill, what do these economic numbers look like? How bad are they?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There are actually two sets of numbers about the economy, both bad. But there's something puzzling about them.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The numbers on the economy, bad, 80,000 jobs lost in March. New poll numbers on how Americans see the economy? Bad. Eighty-one percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, up 10 points just since December.
Nearly 80 percent say the economy is in bad shape. That's about the same number as felt that way in October 1992, just before the first President Bush was defeated. Numbers as bad as these should spell big trouble for the president. And they do. President Bush's job approval rating is just 28 percent.
If Bush were running for reelection, like his dad in 1992, he would be sunk. If his vice president were running to succeed him, he too would be sunk. John McCain is the prospective Republican nominee. Is McCain sunk?
He's not doing great, but he's still afloat. McCain is running five points behind Democrat Barack Obama. That's within the poll's margin of error. Same thing when McCain is tested against Hillary Clinton, five points down.
McCain is a Republican and a conservative, but he's not in the Bush administration. Many voters remember McCain as Bush's rival in 2000 and the president's critic on some policies.
So far, it appears that McCain is not paying the full price for Bush's failures. Among voters who say the country is on the wrong track, President Bush's approval rating is just 17 percent. But more than twice as many, 36 percent, say they will vote for McCain over Obama.
Among voters who say the economy is in very bad shape, Bush's job approval is almost nonexistent, eight percent. More than three times as many of them say they will vote for McCain.
SCHNEIDER: Democrats hope 2008 is a replay, actually, of 1992. But the incumbent isn't running. And that's why Democrats are arguing that a McCain victory would amount to a third term for George W. Bush -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Bill.
Now that he's set to become the Republican nominee, John McCain is ready to step into the Secret Service's protective bubble. But he's not happy about it.
Here's CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, John McCain has made it very clear he does not want Secret Service protection. But, today, he bowed to reality and said he will take it.
MESERVE (voice-over): John McCain stood on the balcony where Martin Luther King was assassinated as controversy swirled about the public revelation Thursday by the director of the Secret Service that McCain had not asked for protection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as an actual request, there has not been one yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we don't go in advance and secure some of the sites where he might be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman, we have no involvement at this point.
MESERVE: The ensuing attention brought a change. Friday, McCain told FOX News: "I think that it's important as we get more and more visibility that we recognize the inevitable. We will be talking with them early to arrange for very soon some Secret Service protection."
McCain relishes his personal contact with the voters and had said in the past that the Secret Service would constrain his political and personal style.
JONATHAN MARTIN, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, "THE POLITICO": He wants to act like any other normal American, be able to come and go as he pleases and stop for a cup of coffee, as he often does, wherever he wants and whenever he wants, and do so without checking in with a group of security folks.
MESERVE: To get Secret Service protection prior to an election, a candidate must request it, the secretary of homeland security authorize it. Barack Obama got a detail in May of last year, unusually early. Hillary Clinton has had one because she is a former first lady.
The McCain campaign and Secret Service have had talks about protective coverage in the past. And another meeting is scheduled for next week. Government and campaign sources say the current media spotlight has accelerated the timetable for protection. And a Homeland Security official says a security detail is ready to go. A former agent says Secret Service protection will bring more than that.
ANDREW O'CONNELL, FORTRESS GLOBAL: You get things like threat assessments. You get things like protective intelligence research that the private sector doesn't have access to.
MESERVE: A Homeland Security official says he is unaware of anything suggesting any sort of imminent threat to any candidate. But many feel McCain is better safe than sorry -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jeanne.
A B-1 long-range bomber burst into flames. The incident took place at a base in the Middle East. We will tell you what happened.
And a U.S. official responsible for passports is replaced just a month after a scandal involving snooping into the files of presidential candidates. Is there a link?
MALVEAUX: A nation clamoring for change remembers a day that changed America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The great need of this hour is much the same as it was when Dr. King delivered his sermon in Memphis.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: We will read between the lines of what the presidential candidates said to mark 40 years since Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination and where they said it. The best political team on television is standing by.
Plus, does the best political team see any bombshells inside Hillary Clinton's tax returns, or is it just a big deal that she finally released them?
And the candidates lighten up. Do they make a good impression with voters when they show a little less serious side?
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
MALVEAUX: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, the Clintons' fortune revealed. Her campaign has just released her taxes going back to 2000, showing a whopping $109 million income.
Also, how the candidates are marking this 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination. We will talk about that and more with the best political team on television.
Plus, find out why a top Clinton adviser is apologizing for what he calls an error in judgment.
Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
A painful chapter in America's history is casting a long shadow over a historic election. As we have mentioned, today marks 40 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. All the White House hopefuls are offering the expected tributes, but this day may have a special meaning for many Democrats now faced with unprecedented presidential choices.
We begin with our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Candy, Barack Obama spoke there today. What was his message?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it will not surprise you to know that his message was of the same as Hillary Clinton's. That is, he lauded the legacy of Martin Luther King, but also noted that in fact the work is unfinished.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Forty years ago, Hillary Clinton was a 20- year-old student at Yale. The death of Martin Luther King is part of her history. CLINTON: I wore a black armband. I worked to convince my college to recruit more students and faculty of color. But it felt like it wasn't enough.
CROWLEY: Barack Obama was six when it happened, too young for the assassination to be part of his history, but it is a part of his today.
OBAMA: And the great need of this hour is much the same as it was when Dr. King delivered his sermon in Memphis. We have to recognize that, while we each have a different past, we all share the same hopes for the future.
CROWLEY: Obama did not go to Memphis to mark the King death, telling reporters on route to Fort Wayne it's a decision he's comfortable with.
OBAMA: I spoke at Dr. King's church on his birthday, was with the King family then. I obviously gave a fairly fulsome speech on the state of race relations just two weeks ago. And I think it's important to spread the message that Dr. King's work is unfinished in places like Indiana and North Dakota.
CROWLEY: Indiana has a primary next month. North Dakota re- caucuses this weekend.
Clinton spent the day more traditionally, in Memphis, speaking at the church where King delivered his last sermon. But the campaign trail is never further away than the podium, as Clinton announced plans to appoint a poverty czar if elected president.
CLINTON: A person whom I would see being asked by the president every single day, what have you done to end poverty in America? No more excuses, no more whining, but, instead, a concerted effort.
CROWLEY: The presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, was also in Memphis, paying tribute to Dr. King's legacy and also apologizing for a vote he cast almost 25 years ago against making Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. McCain said bluntly, "I was wrong" -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Candy.
And, of course, Candy Crowley is going to stay with us as we talk more about the candidates and the anniversary of the King assassination.
Also joining us, Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Donna Brazile, who's in New Orleans; and CNN's Jack Cafferty, who is in New York. They are all part of the best political team on television.
Honestly, today was a very important day for all three candidates. They took a slightly different approach. I want to start off with Senator Clinton. She was personal. She got emotional at one point. And then she also announced this czar, this position that, if she becomes president, this cabinet level person is going to tackle poverty.
Donna, do you think this was an effective approach here in delivering a message that was perhaps for all people?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely. Senator Clinton has deep ties with the civil rights community, deep ties with the black community, and, of course, deep ties with those who believe in freedom and justice.
I thought her delivery was very strong. She was strident in ways that people would like to hear her talk about tough issues. And the appointment of a czar -- someone who would focus on the 36 million Americans living still beneath the poverty line, I also thought that that was a bold move.
Clearly, there are 47 million people without health insurance, children without health insurance. So we need a president to look after everybody, not just the poor, the middle class and those who are still struggling to make ends meet.
MALVEAUX: Candy, symbolism versus substance here -- you heard Senator John McCain -- "I was wrong, I was wrong" -- trying to reach out to the African-American community.
Is that something that's going to go over at this point or is it too little too late? Does he have time to really court that group?
CROWLEY: No. But, you know, the Republicans have got to start somewhere. I thought it was pretty courageous of him to do this. After all, I mean in the last election, 88 percent of blacks who cast votes cast them for a Democrat. This has always been a rough go for Republicans. They were criticized when they don't show up at forums.
So you go, you take a little heat, you say I was wrong for this. You've got to start somewhere. Do I think this is going to change happen what will happen in November? No.
MALVEAUX: Jack, let's look at Senator Obama. He talked about social justice, he talked about overcoming poverty and really a lot of people see him as the embodiment of King's dream. He delivered that message in Indiana. He didn't do it in Memphis.
Was that a mistake?
CAFFERTY: Absolutely not. I mean he is the walking personification of everything Dr. King lived his life trying to accomplish. He's leading the race to become the next president of the United States -- the most powerful office on this planet. And there is no one in Dr. King's time who could possibly ever have envisioned what Barack Obama is trying to accomplish and is on the brink of perhaps getting done. And on this day, all the country has to do is take a look at him. That's what King was talking about. And if Obama can get there, that action will go miles and light years father than all the political speeches in the world.
The idea of suddenly appointing a cabinet position to address poverty, as far as I'm concerned, is nothing more than pandering to the voters. We've got 25 percent of the kids in Detroit, Michigan graduate from high school. Seventy-five percent of them don't.
We have record food stamp use in this country. We had a report out this morning, 80,000 more jobs disappearing last month. We have had the systematic disassembling of the American middle class going on in this country for a decade now. And for somebody to say well, I'll appoint somebody to take care of this, that's just disingenuous.
MALVEAUX: Well, Donna, what do you think, because you said you thought that was a good idea? It was Martin Luther King III who just yesterday called for that position. And we were all waiting, who was going to jump at it first. It was Senator Clinton.
Was there a little bit of pandering going on here, do you think?
BRAZILE: Well, that's what politics are about. And, first of all, I want to associate myself with Jack Cafferty. Jack --
CAFFERTY: Right on.
BRAZILE: If you are my pastor, not only will...
BRAZILE: ...not only will I sit in church every Sunday, I will bring the wine so that we can bless everyone. But, look, there's no question that we have pain in this country. I think what Jack just said about our schools failing, we need an education czar. Let's just put together a cabinet of government that is functional, a government that works.
I'm down here in New Orleans. This is the day, 40 years ago, I was here as a kid. I heard the news. I prayed. This was a very important day. People recognize that we all had to come and serve our country.
So I'm grateful that all three candidates had something today to say about Martin Luther King. But, more importantly, the country will have something to say this fall.
MALVEAUX: Candy, were you looking for anything more from these candidates today or was it what you expected?
And do you think it -- did it satisfy voters to mark this day in a way that they look at the candidates, they look at their policies and agenda and they feel like, OK, I took away something, I got something?
CROWLEY: Sure. I mean, look -- I mean we've also had Martin Luther King's birthday and there was, you know, obviously observations then. And what both these candidates -- what all these candidates did today, as a matter of fact, was kind of weave in the idea of social justice and economic equality with the jobs report, saying, listen, obviously we have a long way to go here.
Look at the jobs report today. Look at these mortgage crisis and people losing their homes and losing the American dream. So we have to complete the Martin Luther King dream. So I mean, I think, they took, obviously, the legacy and wrapped it around what had been the campaign messages.
MALVEAUX: All right. We'll get back to you guys all in just a moment with our next segment, our next issue.
But what they made and what they paid -- the Clinton campaign eases income tax records for the former and possible future first couple. We'll show you the surprising numbers.
Plus, Hillary Clinton's late night jokes -- well, at her own expense. Find out what she told Jay Leno.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Good to see you.
CLINTON: Oh, it is so great to be here. You know, I was worried I wasn't going to make it.
CLINTON: Yes, I was pinned down by sniper fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: All right.
Well, we're back with the best political team on television. -- Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Donna Brazile, CNN's Jack Cafferty and Clinton senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
Candy, let's start with you. Obviously, poking a little bit of fun at herself. We've seen this kind of lighter Hillary Clinton over the last week or so. How do you think it's playing?
CROWLEY: Well, I think the sniper thing was pretty interesting because, as you all know, there's sort of an arc to these kinds of stories. What we've seen is -- at least in the polls, when you look Hillary Clinton's negatives, that somewhere between the Jeremiah Wright problem and the Bosnia story coming out in bits and pieces, Hillary Clinton's negatives have gone up.
So what do you do when you have a story like Bosnia, where it appears that she wasn't telling the truth about what happened when she landed in Bosnia?
You first kind of avoid it, you sort of deny it, then you come out and say, you know, look, I was wrong. And the next thing you do is you make fun of it. So that's kind of where we are in the scheme of things.
They go on these shows for two reasons. One, it does show their softer side, it shows they have a sense of humor. For Hillary Clinton, it's particularly important because she has that image of being standoffish, cold. And it also reaches an audience that they really want to reach -- first of all, that late night audience, but, also, shows like "Ellen," which Hillary Clinton is going to do next week, they reach into that all important female vote.
MALVEAUX: And, Donna, just covering Clinton I've kind of seen this evolve over the last week or so. First, it was the April Fool's joke on Obama, challenging him to a bowl-a-thon and then this new Rocky theme.
What do you think that -- what is the Rocky theme all about here?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, she wants to remind voters that she's a fighter, that she's been counted out before and that she's going to stay in the game and that she's prepared to fight her opponents. And that she's not going to give up because she's fighting for something much bigger than herself. She's fighting for the middle class, she's fighting for people who are struggling to pay their mortgages.
And so I think this reminds voters why she's still in the fight.
MALVEAUX: Jack, do people care? Do voters care? Is this too gimmicky?
CAFFERTY: You'd have to ask the voters, Suzanne. They don't --
MALVEAUX: Well, what do you think?
CAFFERTY: They don't tell me what they're thinking.
MALVEAUX: What do you think?
CAFFERTY: I have no way of answering the question. I don't -- how do I know what the voters think?
MALVEAUX: As a voter, -- as a voter, what do you think? You get thousands of e-mails. Tell us, Jack.
CAFFERTY: As a voter, I'm not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's all I can tell you about voters. MALVEAUX: All right.
Well, listen, let's move on to the next subject then.
BRAZILE: I want to see Jack's lighter side.
MALVEAUX: We'll get there. I think we'll get there.
CAFFERTY: I'll show that to you sometime, Donna.
BRAZILE: Well, you know that's a date, baby. That's a date.
CAFFERTY: You've got it.
MALVEAUX: Well, we've got a match here. We've got a date here.
MALVEAUX: A love connection.
Let's go out to the taxes here. Obviously, the tax returns -- whether or not this is really surprising to any of them -- a lot of the of money here, more than $100 million over six years.
But take a look at the details. Very interesting. Senator Clinton's Senate salary, $1 million; the president's pension, a little bit over $1 million; the book income, she made $10 million to his $29 million. And he makes -- for his speeches alone he made more than $51 million.
Any bombshells here, Candy?
CROWLEY: Well, I'll tell you one thing, we now have found the road to riches, is you're president then go on a speaking tour. That is a heck of a lot of money.
MALVEAUX: That's a lot of money.
CROWLEY: I mean --
CROWLEY: It is. I mean I think the surprising really is that remember, the Clintons were of modest means when they came into the White House, certainly compared to a lot of other presidents, a lot of U.S. senators and Congressmen. They left, they had a pile of debts after all the investigations, you know, Monica Lewinsky and Whitewater and all that sort of thing.
And, whoa, they have done very well. It looks like they've paid a heck of a lot of taxes and gave a lot to charity. I mean, that's at the first blush. I'm sure we'll be going over these for days. But at first blush, that's kind of my impression, was that's a lot of money, no matter how you -- what column you look in.
MALVEAUX: Donna, does it help or hurt when you've got a lot of money and you're reaching out to the middle class, the working class voters saying I'm just like you?
BRAZILE: No. I don't think anybody will ever accuse the Clintons of being out of touch with reality and out of touch with the everyday concerns of ordinary people in this country. Look, you don't forget who you are and where you've come from. And just because you have money in the bank doesn't mean that you forget those who are still struggling.
MALVEAUX: Jack, I'm going to give you the last word. What do you think?
CAFFERTY: I think the timing of the release is interesting. It came out at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon. Traditionally, that's when you release stuff you don't want to get a lot of coverage on. 1992 is when Bill Clinton coined the phrase "I feel your pain." It resonated then.
I'm not sure after you make $110 million in eight years after leaving the White House that it would resonate now. And as she tries to win the hearts and minds of lower middle income blue collar voters who just saw a jobs report where 80,000 jobs disappeared last month, I don't know if there's a lot of up side to those numbers for the Clintons.
MALVEAUX: All right.
Jack, I knew you'd get in.
Jack Cafferty, Donna Brazile, Candy Crowley, thanks again. The best political team on television.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
What's the U.S. future in Iraq if more than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers refused to fight in Basra last week? Jack Cafferty will be back with your e-mail.
Plus, find out what a top Clinton adviser did that he is now apologizing for.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
MALVEAUX: Checking our political ticker, Michigan Democrats made it official today -- they are not going to hold a do-over presidential primary. The state party's executive committee says a re-do vote is not practical. Michigan Democrats say they hope the Clinton and Obama camps can agree on a way to split Michigan's delegates so they can be seated at the summer convention in Denver. The national party stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates as punishment for moving up their primary dates.
A top Hillary Clinton adviser today is apologizing for what he calls an error in judgment. That is how Mark Penn is describing his meeting with the Colombian ambassador to promote a trade bill. Hillary Clinton opposes that bill, which would allow free trade between the U.S. and Colombia. Penn apparently conducted the meeting in his role as a top executive with a lobbying firm. He says it's not going to happen again.
John McCain is making his list and he's checking it twice -- of potential running mates. But he's being urged to stay away from one name -- Mitt Romney. More than two dozen conservative activists have written an open letter warning McCain not to pick Romney as a V.P. choice. If he does, the letter says it will likely cost McCain their support. Those conservatives feel picking Romney would repudiate their values.
And remember, for the latest political news, check out CNNPolitics.com. The Ticker is the number one political news blog on the Web.
Jack Cafferty joining us again -- Jack, what are you looking at?
CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: What's the future in Iraq if more than a thousand Iraqi soldiers refused to fight in Basra last week?
They just walked away -- ran away, threw down their arms, wouldn't have anything to do with it.
Ralph in New York says: "It's plain to see Iraq wants us to do all the fighting and dying for them. If their troops won't fight for their own country after all the help we've given them, the people don't want stability under their own elected leaders. Either we're supported in our fight against the insurgents and terrorists wherever they may be or our troops should be home and the money spent on this fighting -- in this country for the needs of our own people."
Sunae in Jacksonville, Florida says: "Iraq has no future. We need to pull our troops out and bring them home. Iraq needs to figure out the rest for themselves. If they want a civil war, let them have at it. We have more important issues here at home to deal with. Iraq has done nothing but cost us trillions of dollars, thousands of lives. I never thought in my lifetime I would see this country in debt to China. Unreal."
Mark in Michigan: "We need more of our soldiers over there, Jack. We can't afford to have the Middle East fall one by one into the hands of anti-American extremists. So let's bring back the draft, send over more troops, support the puppet government we installed and -- oh, wait, didn't we do this once before in the 1960s?"
F. in Las Vegas: "We can't train their army -- we can train their army, but we can't insert a backbone where there's no room for one. The same goes for the corrupt government that we support there. Where's all the oil money that was supposed to pay for this ill- advised and miserably handled war? We need to get the hell out."
Dave in Ontario: "The only soldiers in Iraq who are fighting for the nation are the U.S. forces. Iraqis love their families and their faith over all else and are willing to spill blood for those values. Fighting for a Democratic nation as a higher calling does not resonate anywhere in the Middle East -- perhaps other than Israel."
And, finally, Michael writes: "All McCain and Bush have to do is give every American a pair of those rose-colored glasses they keep looking through and everything will be just fine in Iraq. Mission accomplished."
If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog at CNN.com/caffertyfile and look for yours there. There are hundreds of them for your reading pleasure.
MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jack.
"Love in Black and White" -- former Defense Secretary William Cohen and his wife talk about their interracial marriage -- illegal not that long ago. And her memories of her teacher and friend, Martin Luther King.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Between now and August 23...
MALVEAUX: Martin Luther King III, the son of the slain civil rights leader and icon, now speaking in Memphis at a commemoration ceremony.
Let's take a listen. It's a live address.
KING III: ...engage in acts of service. Our strategic linkage creates a nationwide network that will focus on the principles of service and civic engagement through the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Our vision is to -- our vision is the eradication of poverty. This strategic linkage will be carried out through our Poverty in America Coalition that will conduct direct action programs through service and civic engage.
These activities will be done in targeted communities throughout our nation. We will launch the initiative next month, on the 40th anniversary of the Poor People's Campaign. And, again, as I say, it will conclude August -- in August with the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington.
MALVEAUX: The son of the slain civil rights leader, Martin Luther King III, speaking, commemorating this day this day -- this very important historic day, with Bernice King, as well as Reverend Al Sharpton. Of course, King's death silenced the voice of a man who dared an entire nation to dream about what it could be. Two people who fondly recall him, former Defense Secretary William Cohen and his wife Janet. They are co-authors of the book "Love in Black and White: A Memoir of Race, Religion and Romance."
I spoke with them earlier about the Reverend King and their interracial marriage.
JANET LANGHART COHEN, CO-AUTHOR, "LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE": There isn't a day that goes by, Suzanne, that I don't think about Dr. King. I knew him very well the last two years of his life. He was my mentor, my teacher and my friend.
And this 40th anniversary, it's hard to believe that he's been gone that long. It's hard to believe how much progress we've made. And it's hard to believe how much more progress there is to be made when you talk about this year's campaign.
I think Dr. King would be very happy to see that we have a viable black candidate. And he'd be overjoyed to see that there is a viable woman candidate for president.
MALVEAUX: When you talk about the things that still need to be overcome, what is something, as an interracial couple, that you still deal with today that perhaps is a bit surprising that still exists that you dealt with, perhaps, 40 years ago?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY, CO-AUTHOR, "LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE": Well, to me the big surprise is why we keep asking the question, is America ready for a black man or a woman? I have to ask, why do we have a question about skin color or gender?
It should be about competence and capability. And those are the only questions that should be involved. And yet, 40 years have passed and it's hard to believe that looking at, 40 years ago, that there were dogs being unleashed against human beings and fire hoses and all the things that we have seen being portrayed today in honor of Dr. King's assassination -- not in honor of, but to commemorate it.
J. COHEN: To commemorate it.
W. COHEN: But 40 years has passed. We still have, I think, quite a ways to go in terms of recognizing that there are people who have been promised the great promise of this country and yet have failed to be able to realize that. And so we have a long way to go.
I think it's very -- I think it's fair to say that we've come such a long way. If you look at Janet and me for -- as an example of being able to bridge a racial divide as such, a few years ago -- not too many years ago -- it would have been impossible for us to be married.
J. COHEN: Yes. W. COHEN: So, great progress has been made, but we have a long way to go.
J. COHEN: It was in 1967, the year before Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, that the U.S. Supreme Court had a ruling, made a decision that blacks and whites could marry or you could marry anyone you wanted with "Loving v. Virginia." 1967. That's within our lifetime.
And to think that a year later Dr. King was assassinated and he gave that wonderful "I Have a Dream" speech, where he talked about people like Bill and me holding hands -- a little black boy and a little white girl or vice versa. Well, Bill and I have joined more than hands. We've joined hearts and our lives.
And you think about Barack Obama, he is the product of a marriage, of a love like ours.
So we have come a long way, but we still have further to go.
MALVEAUX: Join Wolf this Sunday on "LATE EDITION". Among Wolf's guests, Clinton supporter, Representative John Murtha and Obama Supporter Senator Chris Dodd.
Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT".
Kitty Pilgrim is in for Lou -- Kitty.
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