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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Super Tuesday: Obama Wins Georgia
Aired February 5, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And based on our exit polls, CNN can now project that Barack Obama will win the Georgia primary in the Democratic presidential nomination. In Georgia Barack Obama will beat Hillary Clinton in Georgia. That's based on our exit polls that we saw come forward throughout this day. Barack Obama the winner in Georgia.
On the Republicans side right now it's a three-man race. We can not yet make a projection on the Republican side between John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee. But we're going to have to wait. We'll wait to see the actual votes being tallied as the votes come in we'll get more information. We'll be able to potentially make a projection down the road, but right now it's a three-way race between McCain, Romney and Huckabee.
It is a win, it is a win though on the Democratic side for Barack Obama in Georgia. Here are all the states by the way that are up tonight Super Tuesday wins. You take a look at all of these, all of these yellow states out there are the states that are voting tonight, as you see Georgia now. We've -- Georgia will be a win for Barack Obama. We have not yet been able to allocate delegates in Georgia because on the Democratic side it's proportionate depending on congressional districts. But right now on the Democratic side you can see a win for Barack Obama in Georgia just as he won in South Carolina not that long ago.
On the Republican side, so far tonight we can see Mike Huckabee that red over there, that's Mike Huckabee in West Virginia. There was a convention, a Republican convention earlier today in West Virginia. Mike Huckabee gets the winner take all, 18 delegates in West Virginia. A good start for him on this day. We'll see how he can do throughout the south as the polls close in these other southern states. Once again on the Republican side, it's a three way race between McCain, Romney and Huckabee in Georgia.
Let's go to Lou Dobbs and the best political team on television. We can access right now a win for Barack Obama in Georgia just as he won in South Carolina.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Just as he won in South Carolina, just as had been expected by most that he would win in Georgia. David Gergen, the three person race that Wolf just articulated in Georgia, your thoughts.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well it suggests it could be an interesting night for Republicans, that you know that Romney is holding better I think than some people thought. He is going to be competing with Huckabee in a lot of those southern states and Huckabee has got a good chance to take some of those southern states from him. Huckabee were not in this race I think he would dab -- you would have a much more even race now between McCain and Romney. But I think it's going to be a long night on the Republican side. It's not as obvious from what we're seeing early on and what we're hearing that this is a big McCain sweep.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: I did but the paradox here is that Mike Huckabee is almost like an entry in horse racing with John McCain. The fact that Huckabee keeps showing strength means there is no single alternative to John McCain and the Republican primaries, which means that's good for McCain, so even though he's not winning, which of course he would like to win -- that is McCain, the fact that it's not one single candidate coalescing as the opposition, the conservative opposition is ultimately good for him.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: And it's not good for Mitt Romney obviously because Huckabee takes votes away from Mitt Romney, so that's good for John McCain.
GERGEN: Yes, but one of the things we're looking for tonight is whether since John McCain seems almost crowned whether Republicans are going to rally to him in these various states tonight, if their votes go elsewhere it suggests he's got a ways to go to rally the party, to be an enthusiastic nominee of the party.
DOBBS: Well let's try to get some better sense of what's happened in Georgia. Let's try to also at the same time see how that may project out to the 23 other states, 22 now with west Virginia decided in caucus. Let's turn to John King and his magic board and insightful analysis as always -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you see right now this is the state of Georgia and it is fully white on our board because no votes have come in yet. We're looking at the Republican race here and you see the different colors you'll see through the night for the candidates as the board starts to fill in. What are we looking for in Georgia? It's a very competitive race, as you know, between the three Republican candidates, Romney, McCain and Huckabee and if you're Mike Huckabee you're looking over here and down here, social conservative vote mostly in this part of the state.
I want to take this off for a second. I want to pull out to the west of Atlanta in Douglas County, Cobb County, and here in Fulton County, which is 10 percent of the state population. If John McCain wins Georgia, it is most likely to be out here where you have a more moderate suburban vote. That's one of the things we'll watch early on and as you shrink the state back down, Lou, as you can see, Georgia is a big state if you're looking at some military installations in Georgia, this is the place where Mitt Romney has gone down and challenged McCain as a conservative. You see more Republican territory out here.
Obviously Atlanta is the big city. That is where Barack Obama was affected in the Democratic race. As you look at the Republican race, normally Fulton County tells you where the state is going. Cobb County, which is down here as well, and the social conservative vote is out here in the eastern Georgia, southern Georgia. If Mike Huckabee is making a play for Georgia, we'll see his color, and again here are the different colors for the candidates. We'll see that as it fills in. But the polls have just closed. You have zero percent reporting so far, so we'll watch these colors and watch as the states fill in. And this could be, could be it's a competitive state with all three candidates. There have been a few other places where we've had that, all three have competed in Missouri, a state like Georgia where you have a social conservative element, also a suburban element in the Republican Party, so as we watch this tonight and watch how this map fills in, it may be instructive as we move further on to some of the other more competitive battlegrounds -- Lou.
DOBBS: John, thank you very much. Let's turn now to Bill Bennett, a three person race in Georgia, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Senator5 John McCain. As you expected it?
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, although it's a must for Romney, Lou. Romney really needs Georgia. People expected that if he got Georgia and Missouri, California, then he lives to fight another day. So he's hoping for Georgia. Interesting thing, by the way, on the Huckabee, earlier today reported once on CNN not much around though, Gallup released a poll, a second choice for Huckabee voters...
BENNETT: Surprising people, you saw it. It really surprised me, because there has been this argument that if Huckabee would drop out, all the votes would go to Romney. Maybe not.
DOBBS: It is interesting and perplexing at the same time, because all of the savants had that duality created. We want to point out again these numbers, the reason you're seeing various zeros up there in terms of precincts reporting, we're still at the very early stages of accounting the projections for Senator Barack Obama as the victor in Georgia based on those early patterns, but there is still the numbers very, very early -- Gloria, you were about to say?
BORGER: Well I just want to comment on what Bill said. What we see time and time again, when people say they're voting or John McCain or they like John McCain or those Huckabee voters would not go to Romney. They would go to John McCain. It is because of who he is as a person. They like that and they like him it seems from looking at our exit polls over these last weeks. They seem to like him more than they like Mitt Romney, so it's not really a surprise to me that some of those Huckabee voters who think that he's authentic and a breath of fresh air would then say OK McCain would be my second choice because I believe that he tells me the truth. That's been his campaign.
DOBBS: Terrific. Well, let's turn now to our colleague, in fact our newest colleague and team member on the best political team on television, Campbell Brown who is going to bring us to all of our correspondents covering this race nationwide -- Campbell Brown.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much, Lou. We are checking in now with our correspondents, who are stationed all across the country at Campaign Headquarters and at the polling stations as well. And why don't we start with Candy Crowley, who is here in New York at the Clinton headquarters. And Candy, set the scene for us there tonight.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the theme tonight is it's going to be very close. You cannot talk to anyone in this campaign that doesn't say we think we're going to come out of here kind of divided. They believe that Illinois will go for Barack, obviously his home state. They believe New York by and large will be theirs, keeping in mind that these are proportional here so they'll each get some delegates.
Then they move into some of these swing states, New Mexico, Missouri, they're looking at -- Clinton campaign is hoping for Arizona. Looking a little south, Tennessee is another one they're eyeing. But the core of the Clinton campaign has always been for this night, New York, New Jersey, California, and Arkansas where of course she was first lady, so those are the ones they're watching very closely. But they have left nothing to chance here. She has been out all day doing satellite interviews in all of these key states. But as far as I can tell, they are saying the same thing we are saying, which is it is going to be a really long night, Campbell.
BROWN: All right, Candy Crowley for us at the Clinton headquarters and let's turn now to Suzanne Malveaux, who is at Obama headquarters and the talk, Suzanne, as you well know has been all about the Obama momentum. What's the level of confidence there tonight?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's somewhat subdued, if you will. They are really trying to lower the expectations here. They say it's all about moving beyond this night. Of course the Georgia victory was -- it was not a surprise. They expected it, a high African-American community reflects somewhat what they saw in South Carolina. They also expect to have a good shot in Alabama and it is obvious, it's clear that they do believe they're going to win their home state of Illinois. But take a look, a close look this evening at those caucus states.
There are six states and that's where they're hoping he's going to perform well, because these are open contests, gives people a chance, Independents, Republicans to weigh in here. Also it's really where you see that ground organization of real strength of the Obama campaign at work. So look at states like Idaho, Minnesota, Kansas, Alaska, Colorado, these types of places where they believe they're going to perform strong, but again they do believe that Senator Clinton is going to come out ahead with the states and the delegates, but they say if they get within 100 delegates and win some states, they're in good shape to move on -- Campbell. BROWN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux at Obama headquarters in Chicago. And let's check in on the Republicans now and go to McCain headquarters. Dana Bash is there. What's the feeling there tonight, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well John McCain tonight, Campbell, is one conflicted man. On the one hand in one wrap he says we're going to win. We're going to win the nomination. We're going to win the White House. And the next he says wait a minute, I've seen this movie before. I'm not so sure. But you know they really are in reality banking this. I mean it hasn't existed up until now in the Republican race and that is momentum.
John McCain is hoping that his big win in South Carolina, new Hampshire and Florida and his big poll numbers right now nationally really will give him a good night tonight. What they're looking at in terms of the map there, they're looking east first. He spent a lot of time in New York where you are in New Jersey. They're hoping for some big wins in those winner take all states.
They're not so sure about the enchilada, if you will, in California, which is a lot more complicated. It's very close there, but McCain is somebody who understands, he says when he was left for political dead not too long ago. He understands that it's only because of a change, at least at this point, a perception on the ground in Iraq that he is even viable at all right now. He has been trying to make the case all day, even more intensely over the past few hours to Republican voters that that is still the dividing line between Republicans and Democratic and he is the best person to beat Democrats on that issue of Iraq, but he still has kind of a revolt going on among conservatives, as you know, Campbell, and that is something that is going to be a big challenge to McCain if he does in fact get the nomination to unite his party.
BROWN: All right, Dana Bash for us in Phoenix tonight and from John McCain's headquarters let's go to Boston to his rival, Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, headquarters and Mary Snow is there -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Campbell the mood here is one of anxiousness. This is really Mitt Romney's last chance to prove that he is a solid competitor to John McCain. He has been saying this is two man race, but he's disappointed when Mike Huckabee beat him in West Virginia and Mitt Romney traveled to West Virginia to try and win that state.
Now the campaign is looking south. They're hoping that his conservative message will do well in Georgia, but really the hopes are on California and it's going to be a late night as his campaign is eagerly awaiting to see if his conservative message has resonated with voters there. They're hoping it will. They've been encouraged and of course, Campbell, he has to win Massachusetts, his home state. Senator John McCain was here in recent days. It's a must win for him -- Campbell.
BROWN: All right, Mary, and finally to the state that is getting an enormous amount of attention tonight. We've got Jessica Yellin who is in California with us for an update. She is on the Election Express -- Jessica.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, Californians know that all eyes are on them because this state is the delegate jackpot. Throughout the day there have been allegations of voting irregularities in various precincts. One precinct in Los Angeles opened four and a half hours late. The Obama campaign in San Francisco sent out an e-mail to supporters warning them that some unaffiliated voters who are supposed to be allowed to vote Democratic were being turned away or not told how to vote for Democratic in their precincts.
The Clinton campaign responded quickly with e-mails of their own saying that these irregularities are being over played. Bottom line this just demonstrates just how hotly contested this state is. Now the stakes are definitely high here for the Republicans, 170 delegates at stake for them and John McCain made a visit here this afternoon but they are even higher for the Democrats, 370 delegates at stake.
And for the longest time this has been Clinton country. Bill Clinton was so popular here, but in recent weeks Barack Obama has been able to narrow what was a very healthy lead for Senator Clinton. The Clinton camp thinks they are still strong among Latinos and among working women voters, but Barack Obama has gotten a slew of high profile endorsements lately from "The L.A. Times", from "La Opinion," a Spanish language paper and from the state's first lady, Maria Shriver, so it is just incredibly close in this state.
As you heard John King explain earlier, the delegates here are portioned by district, so it should be very long. This night should go on well into the wee hours as they try to count out who gets how many delegates -- Campbell.
BROWN: Yeah, a very late night out there. All right, Jessica Yellin for us, Jessica thanks very much and we should mention we'll be checking in throughout the night with all of our correspondents and we want to go back now to Lou and the panel.
DOBBS: Campbell, thank you very much and we want to remind you that as of right now Mike Huckabee has won the caucus, the convention in west Virginia, 18 delegates there and CNN has declared Senator Barack Obama to be the winner of the Georgia primary and right now we have a three-man race in the Republican primary, literally too close to call, very early in the counting, but that counting will accelerate over the next hour or two and we'll be bringing you all of the latest results, the very best analysis of this Super Tuesday primary election.
And even as we now take a break, you can catch up on all of the politics over the course of the next minute or so by going to CNN.com. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: Welcome back. And CNN has projected that Senator Barack Obama, the winner in the Democratic primary in Georgia, we are set for a number of poll closings within the next hour. Let's go to my colleague Wolf Blitzer to bring us up to date -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's going to be exciting as this evening continues, Lou. Let's take a look and see what's coming up at the top of the hour. We have as Lou just pointed out projected that Barack Obama has won the Georgia Democratic primary. It is a three-man race on the Republican side right now in Georgia. We're waiting for the numbers with the actual votes to come in. Based on the exit polls, we can only tell you it is a three-man race right now.
Coming up in about 41 minutes or so at the top of the hour, polls will be closing in all of these states in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee states. That will be very, very important in helping to determine who will be the Democratic and the Republican presidential nominees.
In Alabama, for example, it will be important to see if Barack Obama on the Democratic side can continue that southern momentum, South Carolina he won. Now we projected he will in Georgia. Let's see how he does in Alabama against Hillary Clinton. And in Missouri, that's a very important state for both the Democratic presidential candidates, as well as the Republican presidential candidates.
We'll wait to see if we can make any projections at the top of the hour based on the extensive exit polling we've been doing throughout the day. Stand by about 45 minutes or so from now. We'll get back to the 8:00 Eastern poll closings -- Lou.
DOBBS: Looking forward to that and fascinating results there as we look at those southern states, those Midwestern states are going to be critical to both the Huckabee strategy and the Obama strategy. Let's -- with the polls having closed in Georgia, Senator Barack Obama, CNN has projected him the winner. Let's take a look at what the Democratic voters in the primary in Georgia were thinking.
Bill Schneider and Soledad O'Brien have an analysis of those exit polls as they are now available. Soledad and Bill.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, you know the best way to look at that of course is to take a closer look at the exit polls, so we broke it down by race, gender and age to see where the voters went. So let's start with race first and foremost. African-American voters.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: African- American voters were a majority of the voters in Georgia and they predictably supported the African-American candidate Barack Obama 88 percent. Hillary Clinton that has to be a disappointing showing, just 11 percent of the African-American vote. But the white vote in Georgia now here's a surprise, they did vote among white voters in Georgia, they did vote for Hillary Clinton 57 percent. But Barack Obama got a big chunk of the white vote, 39 percent of the white vote is a lot more of the white vote than he got in South Carolina..
O'BRIEN: It was around 25 percent. SCHNEIDER: It was about 25 percent.
O'BRIEN: And you said that might be a big problem if he wasn't able to raise those numbers.
SCHNEIDER: And he raised those numbers this is a southern white vote he got almost 40 percent of it. So that shows he's made real headway with white voters evenly in the south.
O'BRIEN: Alright let's break it down by gender, white men.
SCHNEIDER: There is a gender gap and white men, here it is, Democrats in Georgia. White men were just about tied, look at that. Clinton just narrowly edging out Barack Obama by three points. Now let's take a look at white women and this is where Hillary Clinton I believe is going to do better -- there it is. Hillary Clinton a clear edge there, there is about 50-50 among men, but she clearly dominates the vote among white women. I should point out we see a gender gap among white voters in Georgia. We don't see a gender gap among African-American voters.
SCHNEIDER: They all voted for Barack Obama.
O'BRIEN: All right, let's talk about age because what we have seen before was younger voters were going for Barack Obama.
SCHNEIDER: And certainly that's true in Georgia. There's a big differential here by age -- look at this. The younger you are the more likely you are to vote for Obama. Those under 30 over three quarters for Obama. Those 30 to 44 just about three quarters, and that was almost half the voters. There was a big turnout of younger voters, older voters went for less for Obama and you have to get those voters who were 60 and older, which -- where they split the vote evenly between Obama and Clinton. That's the only age group where she made some real progress and she could only split the vote with Obama in the over 60 category.
O'BRIEN: Yeah, they had also mentioned that they expected a huge voter turnout overall, I think it...
O'BRIEN: It was something like 600,000 people turned out. This time around they were predicting maybe a million voters.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. There are a lot of new voters in Georgia as they are in many states and a lot of them are young voters and we see here the young vote really paid off for Barack Obama.
O'BRIEN: I should mention that you could find more of your analysis at CNN.com. They could follow the race online of course as well. We got to take a short break. We're back right after this. Stay with us.
DOBBS: As you see, nine states polls there will be closing just over half an hour and those nine states, we've got results now from Georgia. Senator Barack Obama projected by CNN to be the winner of the Democratic primary and by so far it looks like very strong numbers and a three-man race in the Republican primary in Georgia. Let's turn to my colleague right now Roland Martin. Roland knows those rather interesting exit polls on the Democratic side. Senator Obama looks extraordinarily strong. He was expected to win in Georgia, but those numbers are huge.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Looks strong especially among young voters 18 to 39 made up 37 percent of the voters. He destroyed her in those categories. In fact if you look at the numbers among those 18 to 24 he gets 81 percent; 25 to 29 he gets 70 percent; 20, 30, 25, 29, he gets 70 percent. And those are amazing numbers and so you're talking about people who more than likely have not been involved in the political process in the past several years.
DOBBS: It is a big positive for Senator Clinton in your judgment.
MARTIN: Well I think the big positive for her is the manner of how do I maintain winning congressional districts. I mean so you could talk about winning a state, but the question is where did she win in Georgia. Was she able to pull certain delegates out? But she also knew going in that she wasn't -- compete strongly there. Her base was really northeast.
DOBBS: Jamal Simmons, the Republicans, it is a three-man race. This thing is really very, very close. What do you think is going to be determining -- taking your very best judgment from...
DOBBS: We don't care that it's early for you. You've got a divide.
JAMAL SIMMONS: Right, it's a little bit early, but I think we'll see what happens if Romney -- Huckabee will say he's holding on. He's not going anywhere. Romney is holding on. McCain is not -- looks like he's not dominating the way everyone thought he was so far, but you know, again it's early. We'll see what happens later tonight.
DOBBS: Let me ask you the same question I asked Roland Martin, Paul Begala, what is the great positive if there is one in the state of Georgia for Senator Clinton?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: The primary is over. That's the only thought. No, she got her butt kicked and there's nothing good that comes from getting your rear end kicked like that. But, so she's got to rock on. You know, down the street in Arkansas where she was a first lady. I'm sure she hopes to do better there, but you know what did LBJ say from Texas, you can't shine a cow patty. I'm cleaning it up here because we're a family network.
BEGALA: But I ain't going to shine in that one, man.
DOBBS: But a very accurate...
MARTIN: Lou, the issue about Huckabee, Romney and McCain, I think the thing we're overlooking is the whole notion for conservatives is also electability. This whole assumption that somehow they will leave Huckabee and go to Romney, you can't deny the reality of electability. That was one of the issues early on with Senator Clinton versus Obama. Will Democrats see her as more electable than Obama? I think that also plays a part in it. Gloria made an excellent point. Likeability is the key, but electability as well in November matters.
DOBBS: The problem with that it seems to me Bill electability, likeability we don't know about it until after the election.
BENNETT: Well, no I think a lot of people have said, Lou, I asked some top Democrat consultants -- I won't say who they are -- who they'd least like to run against and it was unanimous, McCain is the guy they'd least like to run against. Because he draws, you know, you could conceivably have Bob and Bill Bennett voting for the same presidential candidate...
BENNETT: ... for the first time in American history.
BENNETT: That's worth a party anyway.
MARTIN: I mean look, I can have my callers (INAUDIBLE) McCain and I'm talking to nearly all black audience on WBLN (ph) in Chicago, so when you hear people say that, in terms of he is the kind of Republican candidate that is unlike what you've seen in the past, that's an interesting thought.
BENNETT: And I said might, but there is this weird thing going on conservatives right now, very, very angry at McCain. Will they settle down? I don't know.
DOBBS: I'm still trying to sort through the idea that Ann Coulter would vote for Senator Hillary Clinton.
DOBBS: That may be the lead for the...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that's the question again...
DOBBS: ... asking a lot of questions throughout this night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what that was.
DOBBS: The -- that requires a professional...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... none of us is.
DOBBS: Well I know a professional right now that is taking a look at these early numbers. We've got some additional numbers for you. Wolf Blitzer, bring us up to date.
BLITZER: Lou, thanks very much.
Let's take a closer look and see the actual votes that are coming in from Georgia right now. Remember we're standing by for many more states to be closing at the top of the hour, about a half an hour or so from now. Right now, here's what we're seeing in Georgia. Less than one percent of the vote is actually in, in Georgia. On the democratic side, Barack Obama with 64 percent. We projected that he will be the winner. Hillary Clinton at 30 percent. Barack Obama doing very, very well in Georgia and we project he will be the winner.
Let's actually take a look at the hard numbers that we have in Georgia right now and as you can see, it's a tiny, tiny percentage; 1, 375 for Obama, 641 for Clinton but take a look at the delegate estimates right now that we're seeing.
Among the delegates, Georgia has 87 delegates at stake today, 60 super delegates who are elected officials and other party leaders but this is a proportional distribution of the actually delegates. Right now we're projecting that Barack Obama, we've already allocated will have about 12 if you include the super delegates to Hillary Clinton's five in these delegate estimates that we have. But remember, this is early in this delegate process. Eighty-seven delegates are at stake today in Georgia. We're watching this all important delegate estimate as we continue through the night.
Let's take a look at what's happening right now in the republican side. We have not been able to project a winner. We see a three man race though right now with less than one percent of the precincts reporting. McCain with 36 percent, Huckabee and Romney both with 30 percent, Ron Paul coming in with three percent. Let's take a look. This is very, very early. As I said, less than one percent of the precincts reporting. McCain with 669 votes to Mike Huckabee's 568, 556 for Romney, 53 for Ron Paul.
In terms of the delegate estimates, we have not been able to make a projection yet at how many delegates each of these republican candidates will get. There are 72 delegates at stake in Georgia right now on the republican side, three super delegates as well. Remember we're watching the delegates as we estimate the delegates. This is the all important part of the story. We'll take a quick break. Much more of our special coverage, we're counting down to the top of the hour when polls will be closing in several more states. Perhaps we'll be able to make some projections then.
Stay with us. You're watching our live coverage from the CNN Election Center.
DOBBS: The factors influencing turnout unfortunately tonight are in Memphis, Tennessee, the border there with Tennessee and Arkansas, some very severe storms. Let's turn to Chad Myers in the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta. Chad, what can you tell us about what's going on?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Lou, it was described as a large and dangerous tornado that moved just south of Memphis Airport right through Germantown. This was on the ground for a very long. There was a storm about two hours ago. It did put down a large and dangerous tornado with a lot of damage, damage to the airport, damage to the Fed Ex facility, damage to other buildings as we get toward Germantown. Also, another town that was hit was Clinton, Arkansas, up here to the north of Conway. This storm was on the ground for miles and miles and it finally did make a landfall. It hit, if you will, on a big city. The city of the town, if you will, of Clinton, Arkansas. We do of major damage around that town as well. People were still at the polls at this time. There's a lot of power out in all of these areas especially in southeast Memphis and the polls are still open, at least in some posts. Could you imagine what power out is going to do to the facilities there and to the voting with all those people on the ground and we do know there are some injuries as well, a lot of people caught out in this storm as it was on the ground for a very long time. Lou?
DOBBS: Well I hope the fact that we have not heard of any casualties there, it will auger well for the safety of those folks in both Arkansas and Tennessee as those storms have set down. Thank you very much, Chad Myers, from the CNN Weather Center.
Let me turn to you David Gergen. These numbers are fascinating on the Georgia primary side for the republicans, Romney, McCain and Huckabee. It's starting to look like McCain early votes, just very early, starting to pull away just a little bit from what had been an absolute symmetrical division there amongst the three.
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if he can pull this out, it would be important to him because you know the polls there have shown it a three way race where he was actually not ahead so if he were to win Georgia, there's a fairly big military contingent there with a very strong military tradition in Georgia which would help him but again, I think the test for him tonight is how many republicans start to rally around him. Is he going to be a unifying candidate? Are republicans prepared to embrace him or are they still going to be splitting their votes and I think that's what we're going to be looking for in Georgia and what will be on Georgia and all these other states. TOOBIN: You know Wolf, one of the things that is striking about John McCain over - what?
BORGER: You called him Wolf.
TOOBIN: Wolf, I'm sorry.
DOBBS: But we're going to listen to you anyway.
TOOBIN: I apologize Mr. Dobbs. Mr. Dobbs, this is how I see it. The - John McCain has yet to win 40 percent in any state and he's not winning 40 percent in Georgia. That's not good for unifying the party. Obviously it's good for him to be ahead but 40 percent is not much of the vote.
BORGER: McCain would like to be the presumptive nominee coming out of tonight and given the fact that the republican primaries are set up in such a way that they are winner take all primaries, he could do that and that is what he wants to walk away with. His problem, Lou, is I think that he told the voters that he was the presumptive nominee and that's probably never a good thing to do to voters before they vote.
DOBBS: That seemed as he said it to be a mistake. Do you think it was?
BORGER: I think voters don't like to hear it. I mean voters didn't like to see the sense of inevitability around the Hillary Clinton campaign. She was sort of running as an incumbent and that worked against her. I don't think they like to see it in their candidates.
DOBBS: That's certainly - that's certainly no longer an issue, is it?
KING: The dirty little secret, Lou, is he needs to raise money even at this point in the campaign so he was in Massachusetts not just to get in Mitt Romney's face. He wanted to get in Mitt Romney's face a little bit but he was there for a fundraiser. He was in New York City, a state where one poll had him at 60 percent. He's in New York City. Why is he spending the night in New York City when you have these competitive conservative states out there? Again, he had a fundraiser. But there are many people in his campaign and I asked him this question. I said where is the line between confidence and being overly cocky and he said well, I did campaign in Missouri. They made one stop and his people out in those states were saying one's not enough. Could you come back again and do more? But John McCain spent the last 48 hours up in the northeast, states that are almost certain to go blue come November. And if he loses a very close one in Georgia or Missouri tonight, they may regret that schedule having him up in the northeast.
DOBBS: That's an interesting point. And as we look at these exit poles that Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider were examining earlier, the huge preponderance of the black vote that turned out for Barack Obama, the greater number of votes in the democratic primary as well in Georgia, if that - do you expect that to hold up nationwide?
GERGEN: Do you mean having such a heavy proportion?
GERGEN: No, I think Paul Begala has pointed out that Georgia among all the states in the country had one of the highest percentages of black population of anybody.
DOBBS: But I'm saying, do you expect to see that kind of black vote in totality for Barack Obama? Eighty-eight percent is our last reading.
GERGEN: That's a more interesting question and I think we're going to be watching ...
TOOBIN: I'm sorry. I didn't ...
DOBBS: We'll get back to you in just a minute, Jeffrey. No, go ahead.
GERGEN: If he can pull out, eight to nine to one advantages in the black community, that really suggests that it could be very, very hard for Hillary Clinton to unite her party if she rolls over him in some fashion. They've got to be very respectful now. That's the kind of support he's getting but I thought actually Lou what I was more struck by was how many white votes he got. That number going up especially winning white men, you know for a Georgia southern state, a black candidate, winning white men, it's remarkable.
TOOBIN: And it did change since South Carolina. I mean he only got 24 percent of the black vote - of the white vote in South Carolina. Now he's just about doubled that in Georgia. If he can keep that up across the south or across the rest of the country, he's ...
DOBBS: This is where I've got to say something in terms of what I consider one of the great prejudices that still remains in America and that's the northeast prejudice towards the south. They still have these views, many folks, I'm not saying anyone at this table or anyone in this network, but the reality is that the south is an urban, far more sophisticated and cosmopolitan place than it has been in years previous and I know that you didn't intend it that way but the fact is I can't imagine any of my southern friends, for example, viewing a black man any different than a white man.
GERGEN: Well, I'm a native southerner. I come from North Carolina and I say thank goodness we have reached the day when a black candidate can win a white male vote in North - in the south.
DOBBS: Amen brother.
GERGEN: But I can tell you, just a few years ago, that would not have happened. This is remarkable progress. DOBBS: With what we've got today. I'm going to rejoice in what we've got today.
GERGEN: That's right but Georgia has changed. Georgia has changed a lot. You know it's become a much more - when the walls came down between the races, between blacks and whites in the south, the walls started to come down between the south and the rest of the country and the south is, as you say now, has become much more like the rest of the country.
BORGER: Can I say something else about Georgia that's really interesting as we look this evening?
DOBBS: You bet.
BORGER: And that is white women because Hillary - that's her support. Hillary Clinton won in Georgia with white women 59 to 39. That's going to be the supporters that if she can win this nomination who are going to take her through to the nomination. She is depending on those women.
DOBBS: OK. As Senator Barack Obama at this point is depending upon black voters.
We're going to continue with our coverage here of Super Tuesday. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Welcome back. Super Tuesday is well underway. Results in two states. We have the race in Georgia on the republican side that is simply too close to call. Senator Barack Obama declared the winner in Georgia.
We have however even though these results are early, we have some very interesting exit poll information and Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider have been going through that, examining that tight race on the republican side. Soledad and Bill.
O'BRIEN: Lou, thank you very much. You know, the question of course is why is it so close when you're looking at the republican race in Georgia and one answer to that is Huckabee's numbers frankly. When you look at that, 33 percent I think is where he is right now, you can explain that with the exit polls. So first and foremost, it's about born agains and evangelicals.
SCHNEIDER: Born agains and evangelicals are a very important constituency in the Georgia Republican Party. Take a look at this. Sixty-four percent of the republicans in Georgia, that's nearly two thirds of the republicans, describe themselves as born again or evangelical Christians which could be one main reason why Mike Huckabee is out polling Mitt Romney at this point.
O'BRIEN: It's making Huckabee viable and it's really hurting Romney at this point. OK. Now let's take a look at the qualities versus issues. We've seen this in exit poll after exit poll. What percentage of McCain voters, to start with, said that they voted for quality over issues?
SCHNEIDER: This would be people who said they were voting for personal qualities. Now take a look. That was most of the McCain voters. Fifty-three percent said personal qualities was what motivated their vote.
In the case of Romney and Huckabee, it was just about one third. So there's a real split here among republicans. Romney and Huckabee said their vote was driven by issues, by values but McCain voters said no, they were voting on the basis of character and personal qualities.
O'BRIEN: One of the questions in the exit polls has been your opinion of the Bush administration. What were the numbers there?
SCHNEIDER: Well, they were good because these are republicans after all, 70 percent positive but there was a conspicuous 30 percent there among republicans in Georgia, conservatives in a very conservative state, 30 percent had a negative evaluation of the Bush administration.
O'BRIEN: Who gets those votes do you think?
SCHNEIDER: Well, he may not want to acknowledge this but in all the states where we've looked including Georgia, those anti-Bush republicans are going to John McCain. That's not most of the republicans but the republicans who want change, anti-Bush republicans, there is a change vote in the Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen, and John McCain is getting it.
O'BRIEN: More of your exit poll crunching can be found at CNNpolitics.com. Bill, thanks. Let's send it right back to Lou. Lou?
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Soledad, Bill; very interesting.
We're now just about 11 minutes away from more CNN projections as nine more states on this Super Tuesday are set for their poll closings. That coming up 8 p.m. eastern here.
Let me turn to you, Gloria. This is an interesting relationship between John McCain, as sort of the anti-Bush resort. What sense does that make?
BORGER: Well, as I was saying earlier, people believe John McCain is a leader. Look at the exit polls, says what he believes. He leads people in that sense. They believe that he's a truth teller. He doesn't beat Huckabee on shares my values because he may not be conservative enough but he wins on experience and he wins on electability. They believe that he can beat whoever the democratic nominee is going to be and they like the guy and personal qualities, as Soledad and Bill were just saying, are really important and McCain wins on those voters who believe that personal qualities are really important in choosing a president of the United States. DOBBS: Bill Bennett, is this some sort of disconnect between the national media, which has been criticizing John McCain severely for changing his position on illegal immigration, comprehensive immigration reform, that has been criticizing him severely for history of anger and intemperate response to some of this august colleagues in the senate?
BENNETT: Yes Lou, there is a disconnect between the national media and many of the American people, yes. I'm going to break it to you. There is that but there also is what Gloria says. A very interesting article but there is no profile of the McCain supporter. It's from all over the map.
DOBBS: Well, is that a good thing?
BENNETT: I think it is a good thing. Certainly it's a good thing in general. The question is does he have enough support from the people he has to have support from to win the nomination?
DOBBS: Well, we're going to begin to get those answers here tonight and we will be right back with our coverage of Super Tuesday. Nine more states the polls are about to close. Stay with us as our coverage here on CNN continues.
DOBBS: Well, the suspense is building. We're now just about five and a half minutes away from poll closings in nine more states on this Super Tuesday. We're getting far more information out of the state of Georgia now as that count proceeds.
Let's turn to John King who has the basis for some further analysis for us. John?
KING: Lou, we're going to look at the map here. Here's the state of Georgia and as you notice, it's just starting to fill in and it's the key number right here because we're only at two percent reporting. So it's very, very early and things are likely to change and can change and let me show you one of the reasons why. With two percent in, we've got McCain ahead, Huckabee and Romney running third but again, two percent. So let's not bet too much on that result.
But let's show you one place that's interesting. This is Gwinnett County, just north of Atlanta, seven percent of the state population, one of those key republican suburban areas, a big part of the state and right now - let me clear the map. Right now here you've got Romney running ahead just barely though of Huckabee and again, a very small number of votes there but this is one of the places we want to watch all night long.
And I want to show you the call around. Gwinnett County is one of the places just right there. Dekalb County right below it and then we come over here to Fulton County. In those three counties, Lou, right here, 25 percent of the republican vote, 25 percent of the state population, excuse me, is right here and this is where most of your suburban republicans are coming in. Now let's pull back out to statewide and get rid of the telestrator for a minute and come back out, cancel that circle so it doesn't confuse you and let's take another quick look at what we're seeing. We talked earlier about how down in the southern part of the state much more conservative, social conservative, rural. You see them, some of these counties, beginning to fill in for Mike Huckabee. That is his shade, the pinkish color. If he's going to carry the state, if Mike Huckabee is going to be competitive in Georgia, he needs this part of the map go with his color. We also see him do well up here in some of these rural areas here. Romney in the conservative counties out here.
Another place to watch throughout the night with no votes in at all yet, this is Liberty County. It's the home of Fort Stewart, Georgia, one of the military communities where John McCain has done well in South Carolina and other states but we want to watch down here. Not much in terms of the population but John McCain, this needs to light up pink for John McCain if John McCain is going to be winning Georgia tonight.
But Lou, again, we are at two percent of the votes statewide but the fact that we're seeing and many of these states remember we've seen only McCain or Romney's colors here, only McCain and Huckabee's colors. The fact that we're beginning to see all three candidates' colors fill in as we go county by county by county tells you early on that we have a very competitive race in Georgia and the places where most of the votes will come from are right up here around Atlanta but in a close race, if it is very close, you're going to want to look everywhere else too because some of these smaller counties can make a difference if it stays as close as we see it just now, Lou.
DOBBS: OK John. John King, analyzing what's happening with Georgia. He will continue to do so as other states start entering our bank of counts here on votes.
We have nine states about to close. We're about two, just a little under three minutes now away from that poll closing.
I want to turn, if I may, over to you Paul Begala. Where will Senator Clinton in this contest with Senator Obama, where will she have to make end roads and show strength?
BEGALA: Well, I think she wants to reach up for example into Massachusetts. That should be Obama's state. The governor there, Deval Patrick, is a close friend of Barack's, endorsed him early and then John Kerry and then the big kahuna Teddy Kennedy. But you know, a lot of democrats up there have been saying surprisingly she's doing quite well there. You know alternatively, she needs to watch her back in New Jersey. That's her backyard and Obama's running surprisingly strong in New Jersey.
MARTIN: You know Lou, she was up 17 points just two weeks ago in Massachusetts so I mean you know she was doing real well for a long time there and so absolutely.
BEGALA: Yes but I mean Kennedy weighed in. I mean come on. MARTIN: No, I understand Kennedy weighed in ...
BEGALA: Politician in Massachusetts.
MARTIN: I understand that but you can't discount the fact that she was doing very well there based upon the numbers and so obviously Ted Kennedy does make a difference so it's not like he's been leading there for all this time.
SIMMONS: Another thing to look at Lou is the difference in the vote total between Illinois and in New York, how well does Obama do in Illinois which is his home state, how well does Senator Clinton do in New York which is her home state. Does Obama have a foot hold there and that may happen.
MARTIN: Is New York really her home state or really Arkansas? No, seriously.
BEGALA: This is where she's got the benefit.
DOBBS: We're going to let you resolve this. We've got nine states just about to have their polls close. We're going to turn. We have some projections coming up as soon as they do I understand as well. We're going to turn to Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Lou.
We're getting ready to make some projections at the top of the hour, a little bit more than a minute from now. Let's update our viewers. In Georgia, as we know, Barack Obama, we projected he will be the winner.
On the republican side, we have not been able to make a projection. Look what's going on over here with two percent of the precincts now reporting. Mike Huckabee has taken a slight lead over John McCain; 36 percent for Huckabee, McCain 35 percent, Romney at 25 percent. If you take a look at the actual numbers though, the numbers still remain tiny at this point. Only two percent of the precincts, 5200 for Huckabee, 5,017 for McCain, 3,500 or so for Romney, 339 for Ron Paul.
But coming up within 30 seconds, as you can see, these nine states will be closing their polls and we're going to be able to talk a little bit about what is happening in these states, some projections that are now going on based on the extensive exit polling that we've been doing throughout the day. These are states that could be significant in showing some trends what's going on around the country on this what effectively is almost a national primary for the democrats and the republicans. So let's pause and get ready.
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