updated 2/7/2008 12:11:26 PM ET 2008-02-07T17:11:26

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  In Boulder, Colorado, after weeks of stumping, one of Barack Obama’s precinct captains is, at this hour, cautiously optimistic.  Caucuses close there in three hours there.  The problem is, for the precinct captain Neal Kornreich, bedtime is technically about four hours.  Saying something perhaps about the Obama campaign and definitely something about campaign 2008.  Obama precinct captain Neal Kornreich of Boulder, Colorado is 12 years old. 

That Barack Obama is surging, not even Hillary Clinton’s camp would deny.  But the exquisite and excruciating math of 22 states at once could underscore what one of his staffers said yesterday.  If only we had more time, more endorsements.  You stumping for me?  You stumping for me? 

For many Republicans, his would be an ideal candidacy, actual naval flyer, POW, projecting eminence, for others watching his puzzle pieces perhaps coming together tonight.  It’s like going to see Friday the 13th movie.  John McCain versus a defiant Mitt Romney with Mike Huckabee holding the bouts. 

With Lester Holt in our exit poll virtual reality room and Norah O’Donnell with the state trends, with the analysis of Tim Russert from “Meet the Press,” Brian Williams of “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS,” Tom Brokaw, chief White House correspondent David Gregory, political director Chuck Todd, “Newsweek’s” Howard Fineman, Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan, Rachel Maddow and Eugene Roberts, with Andrea Mitchell and Kevin Corke at Clinton headquarters in New York, Lee Cowan and David Shuster with the Obama campaign in Chicago, Kelly O’Donnell and Tucker Carlson at McCain central in Phoenix, Ron Allen and John Yang at Romney headquarters in Boston, and Don Teague with the Huckabee campaign in Little Rock. 

This is MSNBC’s coverage of the 21 Republican primaries and caucuses and the 22 Democratic primaries and caucuses better known as super Tuesday. 

Good evening from MSNBC and NBC News world headquarters in New York.  Alongside Chris Matthews, I’m Keith Olbermann with Lester Holt tracking our exit polling for us throughout the evening from a virtual reality room, as you see there. 

Thanks for being with us.  And Chris, I guess we—we begin with one question tonight, Giants or Patriots. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Well, we might have an upset tonight as well.  Let me just say, that tonight, no matter who wins, we’re going to have history made in America tonight on three directions.  One, perhaps the first woman nominee of either major political party, Hillary Clinton, of course.  Perhaps the first African-American nominee of either political party.  Perhaps the first maverick Republican since Teddy Roosevelt to be nominee of the Republican Party. 

And the first time ever, a really what seems to be close to a national primary, so when people go in November and vote and say, I wish we didn’t have such a terrible choice, now they have a participation in picking that person.  So close to picking a nominee before you can get to pick the president, which is a good start for the country.  A big night. 

OLBERMANN:  Before we get into the depths of the big night, is this the future?  Is this what we’re going to see?  Are we going to see more and more almost regionalization of our primaries?  Are they going to be bunched together like this or are we going to have this mad dashes that we’ve seen in the first month? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I think that the political parties always try to tie it up.  The inside tries to keep the outside out and they screw it up.  Luckily for the American people they are not that smart.  The original plan of all this proportionality was to keep the rabble from the gate, to prevent an outsider from breaking the deal.  But what happens was it tends, perhaps, to slow down the establishment candidate in this case. 

Hillary Clinton going into this, perhaps won’t do as well.  Or it might turn out by 3:00 this morning that the outsider who went into this as an outsider will come out the insider, who could be Barack Obama.  Luckily they keep trying to rig it and it doesn’t quite work. 

OLBERMANN:  The people are smarter than the system… 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

OLBERMANN:  And us, and that’s encouraging.  Right now it is one down 42 to go.  We have a winner in West Virginia.  Well, the polls only closed six and a half hours ago on the Republican caucuses there.  Mike Huckabee the victor in an outcome that sent the Romney camp into paroxysms of anger against John McCain trying to paint Huckabee as a mere stalking horse or proxy for McCain.  Then there was a deal by which the Huckabee people got Ron Paul’s support after the first round of the caucuses in a trade for three delegates that he would hook in national convention. 

Now we’re going to have throughout the night a look at what’s at stake around the state, the hall of states, if you will, Norah O’Donnell manning that for us. 

Norah, good evening. 

NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  And good evening, Keith and Chris. 

And there is a great deal at stake tonight.  Because this is, as we’ve said, the closest thing to a national primary we’ve had, the single biggest primary day in United States history.  So let’s take a look at how it all breaks down.  And let’s start with the Republicans. 

It’s simple for them.  Twenty-one states are holding contests today.  Many of them, which are a - winner-take-all, and that means you get the most votes, you win all of that state’s delegates.  Pretty easy.  The Republican delegate count going in tonight, McCain has 93, Romney has 77, and Huckabee has 58.  And there are a total of 942 delegates up for grabs today.  You need 1,191 delegates to win the Republican nomination.  And I know it sounds like a lot of numbers we’re going through but these numbers are key tonight.  The number of delegates will decide who wins their party’s nomination. 

OK.  So let’s go to the Democrats now.  Twenty-two states are holding contest, including the biggies like California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey.  But here’s where it gets a little bit tricky on the Democratic side.  The Democratic delegates are awarded two ways.  Clinton and Obama will win some of the delegates based on how well they do statewide.  But they will also win most of their delegates based on how well they do in each congressional district.  And it could take a long time to gather those results from each congressional district.  So it’s going to be a long night for Democrats.  It’s going to be a long night at MSNBC.  But it’s certainly going to be very exciting to watch as these delegate numbers come in. 

Now let’s take a look at where it stands on the delegate count for the Democrats.  Barack Obama has 63, Hillary Clinton has 48, and there are a total of 1678 for grabs.  Keep in mind you need 2,025 to win the nomination.  We heard the Clinton campaign talking about today.  They are saying this is going all the way to the convention.  We’ll see.  This is going to be a very exciting night.  And as I mentioned earlier, we are hearing it is going to be a long one as well. 

Back to you guys. 

OLBERMANN:  We’re planning on it.  Thank you, Norah O’Donnell. 

Joining us now to get an opening analysis of the night, David Gregory, our chief White House correspondent for NBC News, and Tim Russert, of course, Washington bureau chief and moderator of “Meet the Press.” 

We’ll start with David.  Boy, it’s easy to say it’s important.  How about this, David, why is it important? 

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, it’s important because while it’s not decisive on the Democratic side, it could have a lot to do with momentum going forward even if it’s a protracted contest.  It may, in fact, be decisive on the Republican side.  A few signs to look for, and I’m sure Tim will amplify on these, on the Republican side.  Are we going to see John McCain tonight consolidate conservatives?  He’s made the argument that he is a conservative who can unite the party.  Can he do it tonight on such a large mosaic, such a large tableau? 

Second, on the Democratic side, Barack Obama, can he change women’s minds tonight?  That’s the pitch he’s been making with some high-profile endorsements in California and elsewhere.  That’s the real house of Hillary Clinton.  He’s got to begin to take some of those votes away. 

Lastly, I’m very interested to see what’s motivating voters tonight.  Unlike the previous contest, we’re going to be in a big national conversation about what matters most.  Is it change, is it experience, is it the economy, is it the war?  We’ll learn a lot tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  David, thank you.  Tim Russert is now in place tonight.  Let’s start off with one of David’s points, Tim.  Republican unity - he talked about whether or not John McCain will get the opportunity to unify the Republican Party.  Doesn’t he first have to sort of tamp down the fires that have broken out, the back flames that have broken out in the Republican Party, people who desperately do not like him? 

TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  You’re right, Keith.  It’s a prairie fire, particularly with the conservative radio talk show people across the country.  And what they’re trying to do is urge voters, conservative voters to upset the apple cart, have Romney win California, have Romney win Missouri, have Romney win—his home state of Massachusetts and try to keep this debate going, keep this nomination fight going. 

The good thing for McCain is that his winner-take-all in many of these states and he has Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee siphoning off conservative votes from Mitt Romney.  So Romney needs to score some victories in order to keep this race alive.  But talk radio and other conservatives from the commentary have done a very, very effective job at least getting their message out.  Whether the voters listen, we’ll find out tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  And Romney’s people have already said siphon and worse about Huckabee relative to McCain. 

Tim Russert, we’ll get back to you.  David Gregory, we’ll get back to you. 

We have our first results, not results from the polls, mind you, results from our exit polls.  And for that inside one of the technological achievements of the millennium with Lester Holt inside the virtual reality room. 

Lester, good evening. 

LESTER HOLT, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hey, Keith, good evening to you.  Behind this wall we’ve got a lot of people crunching the numbers.  This is where I will be, though, bringing them to you tonight.  In this hard fight Democratic contest, we’re talking Democrats right now, we’re getting our first good look at how voters today feel about the big issues.  And right off we can see from our exit poll that the biggest issue is the economy.  That’s been true throughout this primary season.  And on a super Tuesday it’s true for Democrats.  Nationwide 45 percent chose the economy over the war in Iraq or health care which came in a fairly low third. 

Now, as far as how Democratic primary voters today feel about the state of the economy, take a close look at these numbers.  These voters were just about as negative as they could possibly be.  An incredible 91 percent thought it was not good or poor.  Only about one in ten felt the economy was in good shape.  On other big issues for the Democrats, the tug-of-war over experience versus change.  Just over half say the quality most important is the candidate’s ability to bring about change.  Next on their list, named by about a quarter, is experience.  Now interestingly electability has not been the major issue with Democratic primary voters so far.  Only about one in ten say their choice hinged on who could defeat the Republican nominee in November. 

Now let’s look a bit more closely those voters who are focused on change.  Barack Obama has made this theme his own.  You’ve seen the signs behind him at all the events.  He got close to three-quarters of change voters with the other quarter going to Hillary Clinton.  With a field of Democratic candidates reduced to two, we asked primary voters who would make the best commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.  And here it was Hillary Clinton who was the clear favorite.  The first woman candidate with a serious shot at winning the presidency beat out her male rival, look at these numbers, 50 percent to 35 percent. 

Keep in mind this at a time the nation is fighting on two fronts.  While Clinton wins that one, Obama is the preferred candidate on another quality that a president is expected to have by a 54 to 37 percent margin.  Democratic primary voters think Obama would be better able to bring the country together than Hillary Clinton. 

And Keith and Chris, we’re going to be back in just a bit.  We’ll show you what’s on the minds of Republican voters on this primary day today.  But now back to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that’s two big victories, I think, in the polling.  We don’t know the numbers yet.  But two big victories for Barack because people who want change are going to him.  And secondly, people who want to bring the country together are going to him.  If this were Republican primary or caucus, I’d say who wants to be the best, who will be the best commander in chief, that would matter. 

I think with Democrats they are less interested who would be the better commander in chief.  I think they’re looking for unity and they’re looking for change.  And the one thing in these numbers that’s good and solid for Senator Clinton is the economy.  Everyone figures that she’s been good on bread and butter, kitchen table issues, whereas Obama has been more cosmic, more big picture. 

OLBERMANN:  But, Tim Russert, apparently, anything from the economy to electability, to commander in chiefness, it blanched - just pales utterly for the Democrats compared to this idea of change.  And when we - we’re asking somebody about a phrase like change and it happens to be part of one candidate’s catchphrase, if it’s the word you see behind him at every event, that’s overwhelmingly significant, is it not? 

RUSSERT:  It is.  It is.  But Hillary Clinton has gone out of her way to try to co-op the word “change” as well.  And Hillary Clinton voters will say change is important to them.  So we have to get inside those numbers and see some real votes before we can make a judgment as to whether or not some of the change agents didn’t say, well, here we can do it as well as Barack Obama. 

I do think, Keith and Chris, on the economy, Hillary Clinton tried very hard this last week, particularly, to point back to the two terms of Bill Clinton saying those were good times economically. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

RUSSERT:  And we can, in effect, bring you back to those.  Whether that—or not that argument resonated, I’m very anxious to find out. 

MATTHEWS:  But then they’re making the argument, Tim and Keith, that’s as good as it gets.  That’s a hard argument.  This is - it’s like the Jack Nicholson endorsement - that was great because he was the guy who’s in the movie ,”As Good As It Gets.”  And here she is saying, hey, we had it as good as it can get, let’s go back to the ‘90s, weren’t they swell?  And I think that is the question, Tim, do they think that’s as good as it gets?  If so, they’ll go back to the Clintons.  If they’ve got hopes that are rising higher because of this incredible oratory and promise of this guy Barack, then they’re out of business.  We’ll see. 

RUSSERT:  And does it bring back the notion of a co-presidency, because the role of Bill Clinton has been diminished so much since South Carolina, it is so, so striking to watch that play up. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

OLBERMANN:  David, so many numbers here, are we seeing in these sort of - the conflicts between the exit polls, the various facets, the ones that Lester Holt just went through, is this the essence of the debate within the Democratic Party and the debate about which of these two candidates it wants to line up behind? 

GREGORY:  I think it is.  And I think Tim underscored that - we’re going to want to see how these actual numbers play out.  Change being important.  How much of that can Barack Obama get?  Because this is a two-sided argument.  Yes, the voters want change.  But how do you get change?  Do—are you inspirational or do you have the experience in the ways of Washington to get it done? 

And I think you see on the commander in chief question, too, that’s ultimate sort of close your eyes and imagine a crisis scenario, who do you want in the White House?  Who’s ready on day one?  If the country is inspired and filled with hope and sort of moved by Barack Obama, is that good enough when he gets in there?  He may be on a learning curve. 

So I think that there is a real contrast that has emerged on the Democratic side where you have hope and inspiration, the kind of “I have a dream” versus “I have a plan,” as one Democratic strategist has put it, in the Hillary campaign, the Hillary Clinton campaign, a question of sobriety versus hope. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

OLBERMANN:  David Gregory, Tim Russert, thank you.  What’s the movie?  What’s the movie from the ‘60s?  “Advise & Consent” with the ailing vice president and I think he says, he’ll learn on the job, don’t worry about it, the office will make the man.  He goes, the world can go to hell in a hand basket before I’m big enough to see over the end of desk. 

MATTHEWS:  Hell of a movie, by the way. 

OLBERMANN:  It is indeed.  All right.  Let’s go around—we just endorsed another movie.  Let’s go to the campaigns.  Let’s start with Kevin Corke who is here in New York with the Clinton campaign. 

Kevin, good evening. 

KEVIN CORKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening to you, Keith.  Three E’s tonight: emotion, electability and experience.  Obviously, you’re going to hear the Clinton campaign continue to beat that drum and talk about experience.  Of course, the electability, some people say Barack Obama has that advantage because in a head to head, perhaps with a John McCain, he would get more independents. 

But there’s also the emotion of this particular race and you’re seeing a lot of it tonight.  And I’m also reminded, Keith, that this reminds me a lot of what we saw right before New Hampshire.  Remember, right before New Hampshire, there was that late surge by Barack Obama and a lot of pollsters said, hey look, he’s moved out in front.  And yet we saw that Hillary Clinton on the strength of women voters was able to get that victory. 

Also we learned after New Hampshire that there was a great number of absentee ballots.  In fact, I think I read that Clinton was three-to-one ahead on absentee ballots.  The campaign is suggesting to me tonight that could be the firewall that will help her not only hang on in some of these states where it’s getting rather close, but maybe give her that much-needed momentum moving forward, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Kevin Corke at the Clinton headquarters here in New York. 

One other note from there, Howard Wilson, the senior strategist for the Clinton campaign, in a conference call with reporters this afternoon saying, at least four separate times, the results tonight will be inconclusive.  That is covering the tracks to some degree. 

In a place where they may not be covering tracks quite so vehemently, David Shuster is at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago for us this evening. 

David, good evening. 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, good evening to you.  The Obama campaign is hoping for a draw, and to them, that means getting within maybe 75 or 100 delegates by the time the night is out, but also, perhaps, picking off a state that they thought several weeks ago Clinton would win, California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey.  They want to try to pick one of those off. 

But again, Keith, their issue here is if they can make this nomination battle a war of attrition, the Obama campaign is convinced they can grind Hillary Clinton down.  In terms of fundraising, $32 million that they raised in January compared to $13 million for Hillary Clinton.  They can outspend her now in some of the states moving forward.  The key for them is to get beyond super Tuesday where they said that they never thought they would win more delegates, get it to be a sort of draw on the eyes of the media and the national public, and move on.  If they can do that, that will be a very successful night. 

Now as you can hear, they are testing the sound system.  Keith and Chris, back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  Band, band practice. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, David.  Let’s go right now for a view from the Romney campaign.  We turn to NBC’s John Yang up in Boston. 

John? 

JOHN YANG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, the Romney campaign is hoping to harness conservative disaffection with John McCain.  They see this now as a two-man race between themselves and John McCain.  Not the race they envisioned at this point.  They thought it would be Rudy Giuliani now.  But they’re looking to southern states tonight, states like Georgia, Tennessee, to some extent Missouri, to some extent areas of California, like Orange County, the Central Valley around Stockton and Fresno, to see if they can draw those conservatives away from John McCain. 

The problem this campaign is facing in many of those places they are competing for those conservative votes with Huckabee.  And they see Huckabee staying in and sort of drawing votes away from them.  And it’s a tough problem for them as they try to move ahead.  Chris? 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, John Yang, up in Boston.  Coming up, we’ll talk to strategists from both the Clinton and the Obama campaigns on how they are feeling this super Tuesday evening.  More numbers from the exit polls.  And at the top of the hour, our first big contest.  The polls close in Georgia.  The first real numbers in what will be a very busy night. 

And we want to welcome our viewers for the first time joining us from across southern Africa.  As someone who spent two years teaching in Swaziland, let me say, (speaking in foreign language), we’re coming to you live from our MSNBC global headquarters right now in New York City. 

You’re watching MSNBC live coverage of super Tuesday. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to MSNBC’s live coverage of super Tuesday.  Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is supporting Barack Obama up there in Massachusetts and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles is a Clinton backer all the way. 

I want to go to Deval Patrick for the first closing tonight.  If you have to analyze a state which you’ve been elected in, Governor, tell me the kind of people that are voting for your guy and the kind of people that are sticking with the Clintons.  Is there a way of describing them or judging how they’re going to vote? 

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  You know what?  I think it’s not quite as simple as that, Chris, due respect to your question.  I think that there is a broad appetite for a change not just in ideas but in our politics.  And in an excitement about supporting someone like Barack Obama who has actually been a change agent, who has delivered that kind of change both in the halls of power and down in the neighborhoods.  I think a lot of political establishment is organized around Senator Clinton, and she is a capable candidate to be sure. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let’s not rush to judgment on that one.  You’ve got yourself.  Senators Kennedy and Kerry all backing Barack.  Isn’t that the establishment in the commonwealth of Massachusetts? 

PATRICK:  You know, I would say the other night at an event that I’m going to have to stop talking about the establishment as if they are someone else.  I’m the elected governor now, so I guess I’m part of it. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what?  It’s a lot more fun to be anti-establishment.  I discovered in my life. 

Let me go to the mayor - Mayor Villaraigosa.  Out there I’ve seen from the beginning the Clinton people, when they saw they’re up against Barack and it looked like they might lose in New Hampshire, they merely said, let’s think Latino, let’s think Hispanic, and they said let’s go where we could get some votes.  They headed out—Senator Clinton headed right out to California.  Is that her stronghold, your community? 

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES:  Well, we’ve always had a 50-state strategy.  We have a campaign organization throughout the country. 

California has always been important from the very beginning.  We’ve been here

for a long time, nearly a year.  And yes, in California, the Latino vote is

important.  But as Deval said, and I want to say hello to him, he’s a good

friend… 

PATRICK:  How are you, Antonio? 

VILLARAIGOSA:  …and yet we’re reaching out to a broad cross section of the California electorate.  We’re fighting for every vote and every demographic group in every part of the state. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you feel that the candidates have had enough exposure in California?  I mean this is so liquidity split.  Twenty-two states in one day. 

VILLARAIGOSA:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  I know California wanted to move up.  But do you feel like you’re getting a piece of the action or just getting a once-over from these candidates? 

VILLARAIGOSA:  Well, I think all of the states feel that there was a lot of attention in Iowa and New Hampshire.  That’s the way it’s always been.  But we would have liked to have had a candidate, certainly Senator Hillary Clinton, here in California.  But they know her.  They trust her.  She’s been to California for many years now.  And there’s a great deal of support for her here in this state. 

MATTHEWS:  If it was Bill Clinton on the ballot in California today, would there be any question as to who would win? 

VILLARAIGOSA:  I think Senator Clinton is going to win here in California. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, you don’t like that question, do you?  Mayor, you hate that question. 

VILLARAIGOSA:  And I think… 

MATTHEWS:  I know you’re going way off in the other direction. 

VILLARAIGOSA:  And I think President Clinton would win in California.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you a simpler question.  This is Tim Russert again.  If Bill Clinton was on the ballot, would he win easily tonight?  Yes or no. 

PATRICK:  You’re asking me? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I’m asking the mayor. 

VILLARAIGOSA:  I think he would - he would win if Hillary wasn’t on the ballot. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let me go to Deval Patrick.  Governor, thank you.  Tonight, Massachusetts, will it be a battle, as somebody said, between the Starbucks crowd, the elite college crowd, the gowns against their - the townees, those who go to Dunkin’ Donuts?  Is this a class division, sir? 

PATRICK:  No.  You know what?  In fact, part of what this campaign is about, and what Barack Obama is about, is breaking down all those barriers.  Those sort of—that shorthand that we use to segment and really set ourselves against each other. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

PATRICK:  I was with a woman out in Worcester, in the central part of our state, on Saturday, who came to the podium in a rally of several hundred people.  She said she had until recently been a registered Republican.  She voted twice for George Bush, once for Mitt Romney.  She was going to cast an educated vote this time and vote for Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  I’ve heard a lot of that.  But let me ask you, what’s better coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks?  How about for the price? 

PATRICK:  I like the coffee strong enough to stand your spoon up in it.  So whoever got the strongest coffee is (INAUDIBLE). 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Mr. Mayor, Governor, thank you, gentlemen. 

VILLARAIGOSA:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  It’s great to have you in.  You’re the heavyweights of our country.  Thanks for being on tonight. 

VILLARAIGOSA:  Thanks so much. 

PATRICK:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next an overview of this historic battle for the Democrats from NBC’s Tom Brokaw.  You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of super Tuesday. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Twenty-nine minutes plus until the polls close in Georgia.  We may get the first characterization of something, large in the coverage of Super Tuesday.  This is MSNBC’s continuing coverage of the 22 and 21 primaries and caucuses, one party to the other.  No matter who wins on the Democratic side, history obviously will be made.  Either a woman or an African-American as the nominee.  Time now to bring in NBC’s Tom Brokaw to go into a discussion about this.  Tom, good evening. 

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Good evening, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  We were on with Joe Biden a couple of weeks ago and he said, it had been the dream of his lifetime to vote for a woman or an African-American for president.  He just didn’t think he’d wind up, as he said, squeezed out by the process.  It was still breathtaking for him.  With all the sturm und drang, and really some below the belt stuff at earlier points in the Clinton/Obama fight, has this epic quality, either way it goes, sort of been overlooked in the heat of this nominating process? 

BROKAW:  It has and hasn’t.  At the same time, there’s also a kind of a generational split here, because Hillary Clinton is a classic Baby Boomer.  And as you know, Barack Obama has been running against the 1960s.  We have that going on as well.  I have said from the beginning that while both of them will play to their gender and race strength, in the final determination I think it will not be settled by either race or by gender. 

It seems to me, going by today, Keith, at least, that the kind of conventional wisdom in this case probably is correct, that Obama is still attracting new voters, and Hillary seems not to have a lot of game left, if you use a sports metaphor.  What she has to do is count on her strong organization around the country, and hope that the clock will run out in her favor. 

A big piece of the action this past week or so has been the endorsement of Senator Ted Kennedy.  Having spent some time in California over the past five days, I happen to think that maybe Caroline Kennedy, her cousin, Maria Shriver, the state’s first lady, our former colleague here, and Oprah Winfrey may have been more important than the senator, because it did appear that they were beginning to peel off some woman votes from the Hillary side. 

OLBERMANN:  The other aspect about this—I’m wondering if we’re necessarily close to this forest, to be able to count these trees and try to analyze what the rings say.  Please stop me before I get further into this analogy. 

It struck me today.  It really hit home, no matter who is participating, and looking just as much at the Republican side as the Democratic side, this is one, already, obviously—one of those turning point in history American elections.  If there was any doubt about this, about an hour ago, hour and a half ago, watching the late news from London, it was the lead story, the primary British anchor is in Washington right now.  The first ten minutes of their newscast, the last five minutes of their newscast were about primaries. 

This is epic.  I’m wondering if we’re losing the perspective on that, too. 

BROKAW:  I think it’s the most important election in this country since 1968, probably.  We are at war in two countries.  We have been a controversial country in the rest of the world for the past eight years or so.  We are still the most powerful democracy and industrial power in the world, the most powerful country, the place that everyone turns to to see what we’re going to do next. 

We have this interesting cast of characters, more diverse than we’ve ever had before.  So it only makes sense that the rest of the world is paying attention, because the United States drives so much of the rest of the world.  We do seem to be in for a sea change here. 

I think, domestically at least, this time, people are playing outside their lives.  You’re finding more Republicans willing to cross the line and vote for a Democrat, more independents who are either willing to go for a Democrat or for Republican.  I said a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was the end of rigid dogma this time.  Folks are looking for solutions and for answers to all this. 

OLBERMANN:  Amen, end to rigid dogma at all corners of the political landscape.  Tom Brokaw and perspective, as we start out here, really the beginning of Super Tuesday, not even the beginning of the end.  Thank you, Tom. 

BROKAW:  OK, Keith.  

OLBERMANN:  Up next, we focus in on the Republican race, surrogates from the leaders, analysis of what we’ve seen so far.  Also, from the exit polls, more with Lester Holt.  This is MSNBC’s continuing coverage of Super Tuesday.  More after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to MSNBC’s continuing Super Tuesday coverage.  In just over 20 minutes, at the top of the hour, we’ll get our first results of the night when polls close in Georgia.  Then at 8:00 Eastern, polls close in ten states, including some of the biggies, New Jersey and Massachusetts. 

Let’s turn to David Gregory, chief White House correspondent for NBC News, with more on the fight between McCain and Romney. 

GREGORY:  It’s interesting.  This has flared up again today over this issue of conservatives attacking John McCain for not being conservative enough.  It’s been all over conservative talk radio that John McCain has betrayed the Republican party, stabbed it in the back, and now he wants everybody to fall in line and coalesce around him. 

So, this has been going on between McCain and Rush Limbaugh.  It’s Bob Dole, the former leader of the Senate for the Republicans, former presidential candidate, who wrote Rush Limbaugh a letter yesterday, saying, basically, John McCain has got the conservative credentials.  He’s always been behind us on some of the big issues in the Republican party, at least when I was in the Senate. 

That happened.  Then it was Mitt Romney who came out saying, well, I think today Romney—Bob Dole’s the last guy you want writing such a letter for you.  I asked McCain about that.  It was something McCain brought up on his own during an interview earlier today on MSNBC.  Watch the reaction. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  Someone asked Governor Romney about the letter Bob Dole wrote on my behalf to Rush Limbaugh.  And he said that would be the last person he would want writing a letter on his behalf.  Governor Romney disparaging and American hero, our leader, our nominee for president of the United States?  That’s disgraceful.  I think Governor Romney should apologizes to Bob Dole for that comment.  He’s a great American.  For Governor Romney, who has never had any military experience, to disparage the service and courage of an American hero, I think is disgraceful. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY:  Pretty strong words from John McCain.  There was a window there in that answer to some of the personal animosity that’s going on between John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Certainly from McCain’s point of view, he doesn’t have a lot of affection for Romney.  It came out in that answer. 

MATTHEWS:  Have we ever seen so many fouls called in a game.  Thank you, David Gregory.  Focusing on the Republican face-off between John McCain and Mitt Romney, we’re joined right now by surrogates of both campaigns; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who is Pennsylvania governor.  He is the national co-chairman of the McCain campaign.  Bay Buchanan, sister of someone very famous, is senior adviser to the Romney campaign. 

Governor, is this the wrap-up time for your candidate?  Is John McCain going to win it big enough tonight to blow out Romney and send him home to think about another business plan for something else. 

TOM RIDGE, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR:  Chris, I think we’re going to do very, very well in the major states, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and several others.  California is still a tossup.  It’s pretty clear that Governor Romney intends on staying in probably longer than this evening.  He’s invested, as well he’s entitled to, millions and millions of dollars in the campaign in California.  I suspect that while we’re going to do very, very well tonight, I suspect the campaign will continue in the next several weeks.  

MATTHEWS:  Bay Buchanan, is California the key to the future campaign for Governor Romney? 

BAY BUCHANAN, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN ADVISER:  You mean a future campaign or this particular campaign? 

MATTHEWS:  No.  Will he continue if he wins in California?  I’m trying to find a way of judging this. 

BUCHANAN:  Absolutely.  No question California is key.  We need—the key, though, is the delegates.  If we can make certain we get enough delegates to hold up John McCain from going over the top, you can see the momentum in the last few days is clearly with Mitt Romney.  Across the country, conservatives are moving.  They recognize he’s the best candidate.  He will stand for them and that John McCain is absolutely unacceptable. 

So, if we can hold McCain up from going over the top, I think as the days go past, there’s going to be more and more momentum and John McCain is going to have a harder time as he moves to the convention. 

MATTHEWS:  Is Mike Huckabee the dog in the manger?  Is he simply sucking up conservative votes that won’t do anybody any good except John McCain?  Bay? 

BUCHANAN:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  All Mike Huckabee is is this ambitious little side kick of John McCain’s.  He’s out there just to throw everything he can to John McCain.  He only beats up on—whatever he does, it’s negative against Mitt Romney.  You know what he’s done, Chris?  It’s an absolute outrageous to somebody as committed to the unborn as I am, and as committed as he claims to be—what he’s doing is he is putting the unborn aside.  He’s putting the sanctity of marriage aside, so that he can get himself a place on a ticket with a guy who will not stand up for the unborn, will not give us the judges, and will not defend and fight for the sanctity of marriage with a Constitutional Amendment. 

MATTHEWS:  Is it true, Governor Ridge, that Mike Huckabee is playing Robin to John McCain’s Batman?  Is that how you put this ticket together?

RIDGE:  You’d have to ask Governor Huckabee that.  This whole notion that John McCain’s not a consistent conservative, particularly given the recent conversion of Governor Romney to some of these conservative principles that John McCain has held for 25 years, but Governor Romney got to them two or three years ago—and particularly in light of the fact that Bob Dole and John McCain and people like Jack Kemp, really are at the core of the Republican conservative movement for 20 plus years, have to put up with this notion that they are not quite conservative enough from somebody whose economic record in Massachusetts, leading the state to a point it’s like third in the migration of people out and third last in job creation, is kind of an interesting approach for the governor to take. 

OLBERMANN:  Can I throw a question for you, Bay Buchanan, about what Senator McCain said to David Gregory, that clip that we just played.  Was there a strategic mistake made by your campaign in dragging former Senator Dole into this equation in those terms? 

BUCHANAN:  No, it’s one more example of the kind of deceit and mischaracterization that John McCain has used continually in this campaign to deliberately distort the record and the words of Governor Romney.  When you suggest and sit there, governor, and even suggest to conservatives across this country, as they listen, that John McCain has anything to do with the conservative movement in the last eight years, that also is to belie the truth, is to misrepresent. 

That man was on the wrong side of tax cuts.  Conservatives are for tax cuts.  He was on the wrong side of amnesty.  Conservatives oppose amnesty.  This man wouldn’t even fight to secure the borders of the United States.  He fought to keep the borders open, only figured that one out after a few months in this race. 

No, this guy is no conservative.  He broke down the possibility for George Bush to put conservative judges on the court.  John McCain has been on the wrong side of every major battle the conservative movement has had. 

MATTHEWS:  Governor, do you want to respond to that riff?  That’s a strong level of indictment against John McCain.   

RIDGE:  Let me start with the conservative judges on the court, Bay.  Without the Gang of 14 that you and some of your colleagues are beating up on the senator on, you would not have two of the most conservative judges on the court.  One of the interesting things about your candidate—and he’s had a remarkable life.  But I do think that he discovered that it’s far easier to make money in the private sector than it is to create jobs, as I mentioned before, in the public sector. 

The bottom line is that nobody is quite good enough for Mitt Romney.  He’s gone after Huckabee.  He’s gone after Senator McCain.  Why can’t this be a debate about real issues. 

BUCHANAN:  Gone after? 

RIDGE:  The fact of the matter is immigration is a tough problem.  It’s a problem that needs resolution.  For all those who said no, the status quo remains.  You have de facto amnesty.  Why don’t we elect a president who says it’s a tough problem.  It’s a complex problem.  It’s a controversial problem.  I’m going to try to solve it.  That’s the kind of president we need, not somebody that waffles on issues and goes to Michigan—he will do whatever he can to capture votes. 

MATTHEWS:  I catch the drift here.  Bay, can I ask you a question; is this war in Iraq a conservative war? 

BUCHANAN:  Conservative war? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  No, conservatives don’t do preemptive wars. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  Now I know where you stand.  I’ve always believed in your thoughtful process.  Thank you, Bay Buchanan.  Thank you, Governor Tom Ridge.  Bay is not totally in line with these people. 

Time to introduce our panel for tonight, the host of MSNBC’s “MORNING JOE,” Joe Scarborough himself, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, brother of the aforementioned sister, the “Washington Post’s” Eugene Robinson, and Air America’s Rachel Maddow, the new rival of Pat Buchanan for air time.  Thank you, Joe. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Lots of luck.  We have a lot to talk about.  Let’s start with what you are looking for tonight.  Pat, what are you looking for tonight? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  What I’m looking for is Barack Obama’s white vote in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas.  Can he raise it above that 22, 24 percent he got in Florida and South Carolina?  If he can, it tells you this surge is dead serious.  If he can’t, it means he’s going to lose the south.  He’ll lose all 11 states in the general election. 

Secondly, looks for the Hispanic vote for Barack Obama in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.  This will show you the Teddy Kennedy affect.  If Barack Obama—he has got to move that above the one-third he got in Nevada, or I think it will be ceding those four states in the southwest, which are swing states in any general election. 

If Barack can’t break through in those two areas, then we’re back to a red-blue race, if Barack is nominated. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Obviously, Barack Obama does very poorly with Hispanics out west.  At least he has thus far.  Gene, what are you looking for? 

EUGENE ROBINSON, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I’m looking first at Georgia.  Georgia is the state where John Edwards probably would have done well.  I’m looking for where his voters go, to Clinton or Obama, especially white men, a group among whom Edwards did very well.  Neither Obama or Clinton did that well in South Carolina.  Let’s see how they do tonight. 

Then I’m looking at Massachusetts to see if the Kennedy magic is still there.  It’s a state in which Hillary Clinton was way ahead for a long time.  Now Obama has apparently caught up.  There was a big endorsement of—the state’s first family is behind Obama.  So let’s see if it works. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Rachel, what are you looking for tonight? 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  For Georgia, we’re looking at 12 minutes until maybe some results from Georgia.  On the Republican side, I’m looking to see how well Mike Huckabee does.  If he gets a solid third of the vote, or if he even places second, I think Mitt Romney is going to be cursing the name of that ambitious little side kick, as Bay Buchanan called him, all night. 

In terms of the Democratic side of things, Hillary Clinton really ought to get stopped by Barack Obama in Georgia.  I think if she’s within ten points of Obama in Georgia, then he may be having a hard time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The two things I’m looking for both come out of Georgia.  I agree with you all.  The first thing is, a lot of talk this past week about conservatives and whether they are going to rise up and stop the McCain movement towards the nomination.  If John McCain wins by five percentage points, ten percentage points in Georgia, it’s over.  Conservatives haven’t come out.  They haven’t rallied behind Mitt Romney.  It’s McCain’s nomination.  We’ll see that throughout the night. 

On the other side, I agree, Barack Obama needs to win big in Georgia.  Or else we may be looking at another last-minute surge like New Hampshire that didn’t pan out. 

Pat, I want to talk to you about Bob Dole.  It’s very interesting, when I heard that Bob Dole had written—Bob Dole, a guy I like, respect—that I heard he wrote a letter to Rush Limbaugh in John McCain’s defense, I laughed, because I’ve been suggesting that John McCain is going to be the Bob Dole of 2008.  You wouldn’t want Bob Dole writing to Rush Limbaugh.  It has nothing to do with war service.  Does it, Pat?

P. BUCHANAN:  I don’t know why Bob would do such a thing, step into this battle the way he has.  Bob Dole has a consistent conservative voting record.  He’s not a leader of the conservative movement.  He never has been.  To do this on behalf of McCain is to get right in the middle of the fight.  I do think McCain went overboard when he started bringing up the war record of Mitt Romney and all the rest of the stuff.  He overreacted. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is McCain overreacting?  Why is he lying about Mitt Romney’s record when he’s leading? 

P. BUCHANAN:  You’re exactly right.  They’re getting under his skin.  He’s fighting back as though he is somebody going down for the third time.  So I think he’s not helping himself with this.  He ought to play the front-runner and dismiss this stuff, and get up and move on the high road. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We’ll talk about that some more.  Also, Keith, we’ll talk about the little ambitious guy, is that what --  

P. BUCHANAN:  Ambitious little side kick.

SCARBOROUGH:  The ambitious little side kick, Mike Huckabee, who did the deal for his big man in West Virginia earlier, in just a little bit.  Keith, for now, back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Joe.  Pat, have Bay trademark that while she can still make the money off of it.  Let’s take a look at what we’re learning from the exit polls, specifically on this; what issues drove Republican voters.  Lester Holt is covering all of the exit polling for us and is back with that now. Lester?

HOLT:  All right, Chris and Keith, we looked at the Democrats last half hour.  We’re getting a look at what’s moving Republicans as they went to the polls this Super Tuesday.  What we’re seeing is that, for Republicans, the issue they felt most important to the nation was the same one that resonated with the Democrats.  Take a look, perhaps no surprise after what we’ve seen this primary season, it’s the economy that’s most important for these voters.  It was chosen by 40 percent of the GOP voters. 

But just down the list, 22 percent named illegal immigration.  Just about as many chose the war in Iraq.  As far as how these voters feel the economy is doing, they are a bit more optimistic than their Democratic counterparts, who were overwhelmingly negative.  Just over half of Republican primary voters, 56 percent, thought the economy was doing poorly.  So while a majority are not pleased with the economy, they are feeling fairly good in general about the Bush administration, and what this president has accomplished; 64 percent give Mr. Bush overall positive marks on his job performance. 

He also got a pretty strong endorsement of his handling of the war.  Among the GOP voters nationwide, almost three out of four approve of the way the war in Iraq is being conducted.  As far as what these voters want to see in their next president, the most important quality by far, a person in the Oval Office who shares their values.  That was top for 47 percent of GOP primary voters.  Most of the rest split between experience and a candidate who says what he believes. 

Again, as for electability, like the Democrats, they did not feel it was as important to choose a candidate just because they felt he could beat the other side in November, an interesting figure.  As the polls close, we’ll be back with some more insight on why voters cast their votes for particular candidates.  A lot more to talk about this evening.  Right now, Keith and Chris, back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  Lester Holt with exit polling.  Thank you, we’ll talk to you shortly.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  Michelle Bernard is with the conservative group Independent Women’s Voice.  I guess we’re looking tonight for a big question, whether women will do what they did in New Hampshire, Michelle, and back Hillary? 

MICHELLE BERNARD, INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S VOICE:  I really cannot wait to see what’s going to happen tonight.  My argument all along has been that women are not a monolithic voting bloc.  I’m hoping that the nation’s women voters tonight will prove me correct.  I think that we’re going to see women voting for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama based solely on generational differences. 

There is a whole group of women, I’ll say aged 60 and above, who will tell you, for example, that they graduated Harvard Law School first in their class and could only get jobs as legal secretaries.  I think for a great number of those women, they will vote for Hillary no matter what, because it is a statement for them. 

I think for other women, for whom sex discrimination they feel has been non-existent, they are going to look with wide open eyes.  They’re going to look at the candidates.  They’re going to look at who they trust.  They’re going to be looking for change.  I think a great deal of those women are going to vote for Barack Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Somebody said the other day, it’s a battle between voting for your mother, if you’re a woman, and voting for your daughter. 

BERNARD:  Yes, Absolutely.  I think most women are going to vote for their daughters. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this values question on the latest poll we got from Lester Holt.  The fact that voters in the Republican primaries throughout he country today, in 21 contests, including caucuses, are saying they voted their values.  It doesn’t strike me that that means they voted for John McCain or at least not happily. 

BERNARD:  No, I don’t think they voted for John McCain.  I’ve got to tell you, the numbers I find perplexing and really, really quite confusing, because the poll said 64 percent of Republican voters in exit polls are saying they are satisfied with President Bush.  If that number holds correct, it really means that social conservatives at this point in time—again, it’s just a snapshot in time—but social conservatives are in a minority of the Republican party. 

Social conservatives have been very unhappy with President Bush.  We’ve seen a huge expansion of government under this administration.  There are people who are very unhappy with the Iraq war, with the economy and even with the new budget.  So it will be very interesting to see who—how many of these disaffected voters do, in fact, vote for John McCain because they are moderates or vote for John McCain because he is the antithesis of President Bush. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Michelle Bernard. 

OLBERMANN:  As we wait to march into Georgia with those first numbers, NBC News political director Chuck Todd joins us now with a couple of pearls of wisdom to look for this evening.  Chuck. 

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Keith, I think the way to look at this geographically—let’s start on the Democratic side, starting from east to west.  The two big states early this evening I think to watch for are going to be New Jersey and Massachusetts.  These were two states that Hillary Clinton was counting on as sort of base states.  Clearly, Senator Obama has been trying to penetrate her lead there a little bit. 

If these are states that we’re not calling early, then she might have a long night.  This is certainly a couple of places that Obama would love to steal a victory here.  We’ll find out in a little bit. 

Moving across the nation, obviously Missouri; this is going to be a big one.  This is the ultimate swing state in general elections.  It’s turning into the ultimate swing state in this primary.  Literally, the state is very coastal on the two coasts of Missouri, Kansas City, St. Louis, that’s good areas for Obama.  In Missouri, the middle part of the state, that’s been good for Clinton. 

Of course, the two big ones tonight are going to be California and Arizona on the west coast.  These are going to be the two states where we find out did Obama improve on this Hispanic number.  Did he do better than what he has been doing, that 15 to 20 percent.  I think that’s obviously going to be later tonight.  That’s what could make this a very long night but a very interesting one. 

On the Republican side, doing that same thing, I think there’s sort of three ways of looking at the map.  With the Republicans, you’ve got the southern states, right.  What is the Mike Huckabee affect in the south?  Does he cost Mitt Romney—I did some back of the envelope math -- 168 delegates he may have cost Mitt Romney there.  Then, the two other big ones, California and Massachusetts.  Why?  Did John McCain not spend enough time in California and spend too much time in Massachusetts, trying to stick a needle in Romney. 

OLBERMANN:  Chuck Todd playing ring toss at the weather map.  We’ll get back to you later on.  When we return, we’re just minutes away from the first big result of this Super Tuesday night.  Polls in Georgia will close in two minutes and 30 seconds.  Chris and I will return right then with the results. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Here we go.  It’s 7:00 p.m. Eastern and the polls are closed in the state of Georgia.  Our first state of Super Tuesday night.  NBC News can project now that when all the votes are counted in Georgia, Barack Obama is the winner on the Democratic side. 

On the Republican side, it’s too close to call on what is shaping up to be a tight, catch this, three-way race involving John McCain, Mitt Romney and Governor Mike Huckabee.  I’m Chris Matthews alongside Keith Olbermann. 

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  And let’s head out to Obama’s campaign headquarters, reaction, one for one tonight apparently. 

David Shuster, good evening in Chicago. 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, good evening to you.  The reaction is going to be somewhat muted.  They are, of course, relieved that they won Georgia.  But this is a state that they had been counting on for weeks.  A large African-American base for Barack Obama there.  He had spent some time there, a big organization.  A lot of spillover from South Carolina, of course, Barack Obama won so strongly in South Carolina. 

So they had expected to do very well in Georgia.  I suppose some relief now.  And then, of course, Keith, as we were talking about last night, now the question is the delegate count.  Out of the 87 pledged delegates, how do they do in each of these congressional districts where there were three or four delegates at stake?  Did they get beyond 68 percent to essentially get three out of the four delegates or all of the vagaries of the math.  That’s what they are going to be pouring through over the next half an hour, 45 minutes. 

But a sense of relief that they can strike Georgia off their list.  That is a state they thought they could win.  That is sort of now pushed aside.  And now of course they are looking ahead at some of the more battleground states like New Jersey, like Massachusetts, some of the states that Chuck Todd was referring to a few minutes ago—Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  David, do they have an expectation of how much they have to win that by where it’s not a moral victory for Hillary Clinton as we pointed out in the last hour? 

SHUSTER:  Keith, they were hoping that in some of those congressional districts that Barack Obama would get between 65 and 70 percent of the vote there.  Again, because of the vagaries of the Democratic rules, in some of the districts, if you can get 67 percent, 68 percent, you get that extra delegate. 

Clearly they were going congressional district by congressional district and over the last few days trying to figure out not just in Georgia but across the country, where can they put in those extra radio or television ads, where can they possibly pick up that extra delegate by getting the number, say, above 67 percent. 

So they are not doing to know for a while exactly whether it paid off in Georgia.  But that was something of course they were concerned about.  They wanted to run up the score in some of these districts to try to pick up these extra delegates in places like Georgia where they were convinced that they would run very strong tonight—Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  David Shuster at Obama headquarters in Chicago.  Our first result of the night, and it’s not even decisive.  Let’s now turn to David Gregory, chief White House correspondent of NBC News. 

David, more on this? 

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, you have to

look inside the numbers here, Keith.  And for Barack Obama, he was looking for African-Americans and young people.  And our initial exit poll data, we’ll wait for the final numbers, looks like he got both of those categories very decisively.  If you were between 18 and 44, that vote broke strongly for Obama.  And among African-Americans, again, strongly for Barack Obama, a southern-based state, where both he and Hillary Clinton were competing hard for the African-American vote. 

Also we are going to want to watch, as we did in South Carolina, white men.  Again, initial data indicating very competitive with Hillary Clinton, was Barack Obama, maybe even with an advantage there.  We’ll look at the final numbers.  That will be something that we look at throughout the southern states as well. 

On the Republican race—side, rather, we see a three-way race here.  And this is really the story for the night.  Mike Huckabee very much in this race.  The South is where he wants to make some noise.  He siphons votes away from Mitt Romney, is the sort of anti-McCain vote.  But in this case, it’s actually a three-way race and Huckabee could end up coming out on top. 

So this is still very difficult to call on the Republican side. 

OLBERMANN:  David, one more question about the Democrats before we let you go.  This—I’m only going to read this right off the Associated Press and ask you if this statement—let’s look at it as a political reality and a political campaign’s reaction to a reality as opposed to try to take the charge out of this. 

Let me just read this and you tell me if this perception by itself would be a problem from Georgia.  This is the Associated Press story on the primary in Georgia.  It’s Obama’s second straight southern victory, like an earlier win in South Carolina, it was, quote: “built on a wave of black votes.” 

Is that trouble if that perception is allowed to stand? 

GREGORY:  Well, it is.  But this is going to be a long night.  And certainly Barack Obama does not want a narrow appeal.  But he will certainly point to strength among white male voters, for instance, among young voters as well.  This is going to be a base of support.  But he wants to demonstrate wider appeal.  We’ll look closely for that.  And he knows that he needs that. 

Don’t forget the South Carolina story.  You remember that Bill Clinton statement, by saying, well, Jesse Jackson did well in South Carolina as well.  In other words, he’s just an African-American candidate with that sort of appeal, you look into the interior of the country, Idaho, Minnesota, where there’s not very large African-American populations, and Barack Obama has been running strong, that’s where he will try to belie that perception. 

OLBERMANN:  David Gregory, great thanks.

MATTHEWS:  Now let’s get more from our exit poll on how Barack Obama did win in Georgia.  And for that we go to Lester Holt.

LESTER HOLT, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  All right.  Chris and Keith, our exit poll tells the story of how Barack Obama won an easy victory in that state.  It starts with the makeup of Georgia’s Democratic primary electorate.  Black voters today made up 52 percent of the voters statewide.  That’s almost as great a share as we saw in South Carolina where there were 55 percent of total. 

The African-American vote was expected to go heavily to Barack Obama.  And according to our exit poll data, that is exactly what happened.  Obama captured 86 percent of the black vote in Georgia with Clinton getting only 13 percent. 

But the big difference was among white voters.  Today the Illinois senator got 43 percent of the white Democratic vote in Georgia, significantly better than the 24 percent he received in last month’s South Carolina and Florida primaries. 

Also, while Obama has repeatedly done well with young voters in the Peachtree State, his appeal was not limited to that age group.  In fact, he got about half of the vote among white Baby Boomers ages 40 to 59.  That’s marginally better than the 43 percent whites under 40 gave him. 

Similar to what we’ve seen in other—have seen elsewhere, white voters over 60 are least likely to support him.  He got only about a quarter of their vote.  Obama’s cross-racial appeal is also seen in voter perceptions of him as a unifying figure.  When asked which candidate is best qualified to unite the country, nearly two-thirds of Democratic primary voters in Georgia think Obama is better suited to get the job done. 

This compares with only three in 10 who say Hillary Clinton is better equipped to do this.  So we’re getting a very good look at which groups broke for Barack Obama in Georgia, his win there.  And we’re going to watch these groups throughout the night as we see other states called across the country. 

Gentlemen, let’s go back to you now. 

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Thanks very much, Lester.  Fifty-four-forty-three, Clinton over Obama in the exit polls among non-African-American voters in Georgia.  So that’s a pretty high number for Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, he’s moving up here.  Let’s go right now—thank you, Lester.  Let’s go right now for reaction from the panel, Joe Scarborough. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “MORNING JOE”:  Thank you so much, Chris Matthews.  You know, there is a lot of times that you look at these exit polls and you just sort of rub your eyes.  Not this time. 

Pat Buchanan, this is big.  Remember, a week before South Carolina, only 10 percent of South Carolina voters—white voters supported Obama.  By election day it was 25 percent.  Now in Georgia, 43 percent of white voters are on Barack Obama’s side.  He gets 86 percent of African-American voters.  That, Pat, is a coalition that he can win with nationwide, isn’t it? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, look, and this is a tremendous number, you’ve got, as I say, 22 and 24 percent in South Carolina and Florida.  Now he’s virtually doubled that to 43 percent.  There’s still resistance in folks over 60 years old in the South.  But that’s a good number.  There’s no doubt about it.  I mean, he lost it—was it 54-43?  But you can’t deny that’s a terrific gain. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel, I’m going to talk about Pat and pretend like he’s not here.  Whenever we talk about Barack Obama, Pat Buchanan sort of laughs and chortles.  I’m excited thinking that this guy may be the new face of politics that can unite America.  Now ideology, you know, will I vote for him?  Who knows? 

But younger voters seem to get Barack Obama.  Older voters don’t.  And I think we’re seeing that here, aren’t we?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, but we also say from 40- to 59-year-olds in Georgia, he got 49 percent of the vote.  Now 40 to 59, you call that old or call that not old depending on when you were born. 

But you know, that’s not a bunch of college kids.  And that’s a significant—he got half of that vote.  So the question—the reason that people get agitated over the idea of youth vote propelling a candidate to victory is because there is this theory that young voters never show up. 

Well, not only do young voters support Barack Obama, but they show up when he is on the ballot.  And he is starting to appeal to people outside that young age group.

SCARBOROUGH:  And also, when you talk about 40 to 59, that is an important age group.  It is not 60 and over, but it’s the next most important age group. 

Gene, he is starting to put together a coalition in Georgia, deep South? 

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Deep South.  Yes, I’m going to…

SCARBOROUGH:  Deep South.

ROBINSON:  … going to back up for a minute and go back to that original figure.

SCARBOROUGH:  This is the deep South.  He gets 43 percent of white voters, this may be a harbinger of things to come tonight.

ROBINSON:  Well, you know, when you and I were growing up, we wouldn’t have thought that that was going to happen.  That an African-American candidate would get, you know, more than four out of 10 white votes in a state like Georgia.

SCARBOROUGH:  Especially in a presidential race. 

ROBINSON:  In a presidential race.  I mean, that is incredible.  And I

would say it is a very good start, you know, of the…

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON:  But it’s a good start to the evening for Obama.

BUCHANAN:  That number, 86 percent of the African-American vote is what you expect the Democratic candidate to get entirely in a general election.  And he has gotten it against Hillary Rodham Clinton, basically a moderate liberal Democrat in the South, the wife of the president of the United States, our first black president, and she gets 13 percent of the black vote?  That is very bad news.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, that is great news for Barack Obama.  It is bad news for Hillary Clinton.  But as the night goes on, and the results come in and we start going West, Rachel Maddow, suddenly the battle is going to be in the Democratic Party between African-Americans and Hispanics, because African-Americans may go eight out of 10 for Barack Obama.  Hispanics, though, most likely will go six out of seven for Hillary Clinton.

BUCHANAN:  They won’t go that much.  I mean, he only—he won one-third in Nevada.  If Hillary gets two-thirds, that will maintain it.  But if he starts getting 40 percent there, frankly, it is bad news first and foremost for Hillary.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel, what we have to look for though, when we look at these identity groups, is how much impact did Ted Kennedy have?  Can he bring 40 percent of Hispanic voters over?  If so, with these numbers, then Barack Obama is going to have a huge night. 

MADDOW:  Well, what remains to be seen is what the overall spread is between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Georgia.  Right now he was polling about 20 points ahead of Hillary Clinton heading into today.  And so if he beat that spread or if he came in underneath that spread, it’s going to tell us how big a result this is for him.

But in California, he is pulling as much of the African-American vote

as she is pulling the Latino vote.  So it is going to be…

BUCHANAN:  The Latino vote is about three times as big in California. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is.  It is.  Tom Brokaw said this morning, 60 percent of all children in elementary school in California are Hispanic.  That is how big the vote is—the Hispanic vote is out in California and out West. 

All right.  So the big news, Keith, obviously, 43 percent of white voters in Georgia in the deep South, in the heart of Dixie, going for an African-American, that is newsworthy.  Back to you.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, and by—I don’t want to give anything away from the exit polls, but if you ever took a standardized test, this—we gave you enough information for you to walk back on your DVR device and figure out what the vote totals were projected from the exit polls, even though we are not supposed to give it you.  If we gave it to you based on African-American voters and how many—what percentage they are of the whole, and non-African. 

If you would like to go and do that, go right ahead.  I know Joe is doing it right now.  He has got his abacus out as we speak.  In the interim, let’s continue the analysis with Tom Brokaw about Barack Obama as the projected winner in Georgia, and by these margins, and on the Republican side, the same three-way split that has defined the GOP race so far. 

Does that deadlock break tonight, Tom?  And if so, why?

TOM BROKAW, FORMER NBC ANCHOR:  Well, let me begin with the Democrats, if I can, first of all.  We may be, once again, paying far too much attention to conventional wisdom.  I have been spending a fair amount of time in the South recently and I have been so struck by the social and racial dynamic in cities like Atlanta, in which everyone—they’re not just integrated on a daily basis at work, but they are socially integrated as well. 

And there are, what I call now, the children and the grandchildren of Dr. Martin Luther King who are taking their place in Georgia and in other states across the South.  I was at Ole Miss recently and I met the president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association.  She was an African-American woman.

It’s that kind of change that will play well for Barack Obama, not just on a primary night, but if he should be the nominee as well.  So I think that we ought not to use the past models in this election, especially when people are looking for new answers and new solutions.  And obviously his impressive showing there tonight will probably serve him well.

On the Republican side, what is so striking to me is this internecine feud that is going on within the Republican Party.  And we are seeing that play out in the South as well.  In Pat Buchanan’s old party, there has almost always been a kind of marshalling behind a candidate at some point and saying, this is how we march forward.  Not this time.  And you’re seeing it play out in Georgia and I suspect we will the rest of the night as well.

OLBERMANN:  The first part, Tom, obviously the past is useful as contrast.  And it’s a—I guess it is a great thing for everybody of all stripe politically and all ethnic and racial background in this country to look back at some point at the results that we saw in the past and go, I can’t understand why it happened that way, it seems like it’s happening entirely on merit, which would be a good thing to be able to judge. 

BROKAW:  Look, race—the fact is, Keith, race is still with us.  And it still will be a factor.  But it’s less of a factor, especially for young people every day.  And that is what’s heartening here. 

When I was in South Carolina, I met a young African-American lawyer that I had known for a while, and he said, you know, in our generation we just don’t talk about it or think about it as much as you all do. 

And they have grown up in a much more integrated culture as they look at television, they see television commercials with black professionals and black middle class people.  There’s a whole new, as you know, class of black professionals across this country in all of the fields. 

And so folks are much more at ease with it now.  And we’re not over it entirely.  I want to be entirely clear about that.  But there are big strides that are being made.  And, as I said earlier, I don’t think that this election will be settled just on gender or race alone.  People are taking the measure of these candidates. 

OLBERMANN:  Tom Brokaw, we’ll be back with you later on.  Thank you, Tom. 

BROKAW:  OK. 

OLBERMANN:  And coming up, more exit polls, more results, polls in nine states closing 44 minutes hence at 8:00 Eastern.  You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  And there he is, the first big winner, in Georgia.  Welcome back to MSNBC’s live Super Tuesday coverage.  Barack Obama is the projected winner in the first state of the night, the Peach State, Georgia.  And on the Republican side it’s simply too close to call in a tight three-way race among John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. 

NBC News political director Chuck Todd is with us now for a look at the delegate apportionment as it stands right now—Chuck. 

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, Chris, we did some quick little estimates based on what the exit poll is showing us, on a regional breakdown, plus what we’re hearing on the ground both from the Clinton campaign and from the Obama campaign.  And it looks like the best case scenario for Obama may come true out of Georgia, that he may end up netting some 35 -- a 35-delegate advantage out of Georgia over her, particularly if his numbers are as high as they are in certain parts of the state, particularly in those African-American precincts. 

One estimate that we came up with has him getting 60 out of the 87 delegates, which would be a much greater number than they expected.  In fact, because of this and because of what Obama folks are hearing on the ground and in other states, they are already raising the estimate of delegates that they think they can win tonight. 

They really thought that they were looking at a night where they would get 810 to 830 delegates.  Now they already think that they might be able to get more than 850 delegates tonight and that might mean that they win the delegate war tonight. 

Now, it’s one state and they are probably, you know, looking at too many rumors of exit poll information.  But already they feel pretty good about what they are hearing on the ground. 

The Republican side, this too close to call.  The difference between first and second, Georgia does do some apportioning of its delegates.  So you can finish second or third and get a few delegates out of the state.  But the difference between first and second is going to be at least 30 delegates.  We’ve got—the winner of this is going to win at least 46 delegates coming out of here, out of the 69 that are up in Georgia. 

So it’s a big difference between first and second, no difference, by the way, between second and third, whoever—assuming it stays this tight, three-way race, who finishes second, who finishes third, they will both get about the same amount of delegates. 

MATTHEWS:  Since looking at these numbers so far out of Georgia, the Republican conservatives are simply resistant to John McCain. 

TODD:  They are resistant to John McCain, but they are also resistant to Mitt Romney.  Let’s not—remember, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are also struggling to put the coalitions together.  Huckabee couldn’t get economic conservatives, Romney couldn’t get these social conservatives.  So all of them are having this problem putting these coalitions together. 

MATTHEWS:  Boy, it’s a restive political party.  Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd. 

Up next, what to expect tonight from the Latino vote.  It’s going to be critical of course in states like California, Arizona and New Mexico.  We’ve known that for weeks.  Tonight we’ll find out what happens.  You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of big Super Duper Tuesday. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The first numbers are in.  NBC News has projected Barack Obama as the winner in Georgia.  The hard numbers are finally coming in.  Three, count them, three precincts reporting from both sides of the Democratic and Republican primaries.  The Republican number still less than zero, to quote Elvis Costello.  And John McCain giving an indication of what we’re expecting here, why it’s too close to call, a 38-28-27 margin over Huckabee and Romney, that with literally about 700-800 votes total in this primary, at least from the Republican side. 

The Democratic side, it’s Obama 509, Clinton 235.  John Edwards still on the ballot with 41 votes.  Again, that is three precincts reporting, not 3 percent, but just three precincts.  And the very beginning of a very long night on Super Tuesday. 

And we’re back here at MSNBC headquarters.  We will be getting some results from some states with big Latino populations.  For more on the crucial Latino vote tonight, we’re joined from Sand Francisco by Maria Teresa Petersen of the group Voto Latino. 

Thank you for your time tonight, Ms. Petersen. 

MARIA TERESA PETERSEN, VOTO LATINO:  Thank you so much, Keith.  Thanks for having us on. 

OLBERMANN:  It’s almost—now, it has been the story for weeks and weeks, especially about California, it’s almost as if the name had been changed from Latino to “crucial Latino.”  Is the community aware of its importance in the vote in California?  Is everybody comfortable with that?  Is it an incentive to get people to get out and vote? 

PETERSEN:  I have to say that I’ve been doing this now for about three years, and this has been the easiest time for me to encourage folks to go out to the polls. 

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  Go ahead.  Is there an indication of what—first off, is there a bloc, is that assumption correct?  Is there any tendency in terms of voting that can be discerned in that group? 

PETERSEN:  No, I think it’s actually very, very reflective.  And if anything, what we’re seeing is a generational divide.  You see a very large group of individuals over the age of 40 going over for Hillary Clinton.  And then you see a large—folks who are under 40 going for Barack.  Now the beauty of it is that of the 18 million eligible Latino voters, 50 percent of them are exactly under 40, and 50 percent of them are exactly over 40.  So it’s a (INAUDIBLE) divide. 

OLBERMANN:  So you’re not just crucial in terms of an election, you’re the crucial demographic breakdown in terms of age. 

PETERSEN:  Exactly.  Just to give you an example.  In California, of all of the Latino voters in California, that’s equal to all of the voters in all of Colorado. 

OLBERMANN:  Why—was there previous disaffection on the part of Latino voters that has suddenly been erased or has there been consciousness raised?  Or what is the change?  You said it’s the easiest experience you’ve had in three years, getting people to vote.  Can you pinpoint the cause? 

PETERSEN:  Absolutely.  I think it’s the whole immigration debate.  Now I don’t think that Latinos are going to the polls because of immigration, but I think it’s more of a catalyst.  A lot of folks have seen the immigration debate as a backlash of Latinos basically saying, you know what, they are not American. 

And in fact, the community is counteracting it, saying, we’re very American and we’re going to go to the polls and address issues that are of concern to us. 

OLBERMANN:  Is it possible, we saw—I mean, this is anecdotal, but I saw throughout New York, at establishments throughout the city of New York today, a heavy turnout by Barack Obama’s people in public places, basically shopping for voters one at a time, trying to convince people to go to the polls in New York as late as 3:00 or 4:00 this afternoon.  Last time I would have been able to see that. 

Is there a means of pursuing the Hispanic vote and the Latino vote in California in that sort of retail fashion? 

PETERSEN:  Well, I know that a lot of what folks were doing is that they were basically—they took advantage of that, they had free minutes over the weekend.  But I know that there was a lot of phone banking going on, friends to friends, peers to peers.  And it’s viral, it has been an incredible experience. 

OLBERMANN:  Maria Teresa Petersen reporting, the easiest time getting out the vote for Voto Latino, the civic organization aimed at nonpartisan representation and getting the vote out for Latino youth, joining us from San Francisco. 

Our thanks for your time tonight. 

PETERSEN:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Up next Norah O’Donnell looks ahead to the top of the hour.  The polls closing in many delegate-rich states, nine of them in fact.  Norah will show us what’s at stake of those big nine.  You’re watching MSNBC’s continuing coverage of Super Tuesday, more after this.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee close at the top of the hour.  Right now we have Georgia where NBC NEWS has declared Barack Obama the projected winner in Georgia. 

The hard numbers that are coming still represent less than zero percent, but it’s a 64-30 split between Obama and Clinton.  And if you missed inside the inside the number exit polls, white voters, Clinton winning 54-43, according to exit poll information, a lot tighter than any previous match like that we’ve seen so far in the primary season. 

In the GOP, it is officially considered too close to call among all three of them.  We’re not even saying anybody’s strapping out of that three-man group.  McCain with a five percent lead again, but again we’re talking about miniscule numbers, nine precincts reporting this thus far out of Georgia.  Many more hard numbers where you won’t want to hear a number again by the end of the evening. 

In the interim, Norah O’Donnell looks now at what we can expect when those polls that we mentioned, some of the eastern states closed at 8:00 --

Norah. 

NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  That’s right, Keith.  Thank you very much. 

And just like you, I’m eagerly looking at the next set of results.  And so, let’s first take a look at which polls close at 8:00, and we’ve got a number of states:  Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, all of those closing at 8:00. 

So, first let’s talk about two, now.  How NBC NEWS is handicapping all of these states that are voting today.  Let’s talk about the Democrats first. 

And the Democrats—In the states that lean toward Clinton, according to NBC NEWS analysis, New York, New Jersey, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  Clinton’s campaign really wants to do well in those big states in the Northeast, like New York and New Jersey. 

Now, let’s turn to the states that lean toward Obama:  Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Alabama, Illinois, and of course, we’ve called Georgia already that went for Obama as expected.  Now, Obama’s campaign is making the case that they have some red state appeal, especially in those Republican stronghold states, like we just mentioned:  Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and North Dakota, which lean towards him tonight. 

The Democratic tossup, here’s what gets interesting, we’re going to be watching these states very closely:  Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah, and California. 

All right.  Ready to turn to the Republicans now?  Let’s talk about John McCain and the states that lean toward him:  Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut. 

What about the states leaning towards Mitt Romney?  Let’s take a look at those, these are caucus states:  Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado, plus Utah and Massachusetts, of course, where Romney was once governor. 

The Republican tossup states, the states we’re going to be watching very, very closely include California, of course, the big one, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois and Missouri, of course, which is always a bellwether state. 

Now Keith, these states we just showed you based on our NBC NEWS analysis we will watch, but as you know, especially those tossup states that we just showed you, watching those very closely, because how those break will decide who wins—Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Norah O’Donnell, thanks.  And if anybody is just sitting there waiting to do something before the California results come in, you have time to do it right now—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, focusing in, right now, on the race in New Jersey.  I’m joined right now by New Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who’s also national co-chair of the Clinton camp. 

Senator Menendez, not just because you’re here, but it’s been my conclusion, thinking hard all day, that New Jersey is, in fact, the bellwether state, tonight.  Do you accept that?  The one to watch to decide who wins tonight between Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. 

SEN BOB MENENDEZ (D), CLINTON CAMP CO-CHAIR:  Well, it’s a great state and we don’t have a history of presidential primaries set aside from our regular primaries and we’re getting record turnouts.  I think Hillary will do well, there.  Of course, this is a national race and it’s not just one state that’s going to be the bellwether, it’s going to be the results of across the country and then we move on from Super Tuesday to the Potomac primaries and beyond, and Hillary has always said since New Hampshire, this is a national race, we’re going to go the distance and achieve the success of the convention. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, explain how this works, if New Jersey goes for Hillary Clinton, tonight, you, as a super delegate, would support her.  But, if it goes for Barack Obama, would you be inclined to vote with your state or vote with your political commitments? 

MENENDEZ:  Well, I made a commitment to Senator Clinton because I believe she has the experience we need for the change we want, turning this economy around, making sure that we bring our men and women back from Iraq and making sure that every American has healthcare.  So, I’m committed to her, for all those reasons and will continue to do so. 

MATTHEWS:  The state of New Jersey, sir, cannot change your mind, then, if they do vote for Barack tonight? 

MENENDEZ:  The state of New Jersey, I think, is going do very well by Hillary Clinton, tonight.  And certainly we always listen to our constituents, but at the end of the day when you make a commitment, you make a commitment.  I think New Jerseyians respect that, as well. 

MATTHEWS:  Is there anything your voters could do to convince you to switch to Barack?  I’m giving you a hard time—let me be honest with you, Senator, I’m trying to figure out this super delegate thing.  It seems to me you folks in establishment positions, elected positions in your government—in our government and in your party have certain perquisites, you’re allowed to make your mind up.  But to what extent are you influenced by the voters?  That’s what I’m asking.  You say not at all. 

MENENDEZ:  Well, always have a say with our constituents, but there will be a very strong universe that it will be for Hillary from New Jersey and there is unaffiliated voters, not committed to a party who may have voted in this election on the Democratic side, certainly for Hillary, as well as for Barack.  So, at the end of the day, the question is I will stand up for what I believe in.  I believe that Hillary is, in fact, the person who can lead our country in a new direction, has the strength, the experience, she’s been tested.  And let me tell you, against John McCain, I want someone who has been tested and if I look at who voted for Republicans in 2004, for Bush, it’s women who are concerned about security and Latinos who gave 40 percent of their votes to Bush, those are two groups strongly supporting Hillary today and beyond. 

MATTHEWS:  In the tradition of Edmund Burke, Senator Menendez will vote his conscious not the vagaries of the public opinion polls.  Anyway, thank you very much for joining us. 

Illinois is the biggest prize up for grabs when polls close there at 8:00 p.m.  For a look at the race there I’m joined by Illinois congressman, Bobby Rush, who’s an Obama supporter. 

I love the fact, congressman, that you beat Barack Obama when he tried to grab your seat and now you’re out there endorsing him. 

REP BOBBY RUSH (D), OBAMA SUPPORTER:  Well, you know, Obama has really impressed me.  He’s certainly developed a message that I think is resonating throughout the country and he’s an Illinoisan, he’s my neighbor.  And so, yeah, I’m supporting Barack.  It was a very difficult decision.  You know, ironically when Obama did run against me, Clinton came to my rescue, he was part of my team to help defeat him. 

But, you know, right now I think that it’s important, right now, that the message that Obama is carrying across this nation is a good message, is a solemn message, therefore I’m supporting Barack Obama for president. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe he would be the best president or is this simply a favorite son endorsement? 

RUSH:  Well, I think he has electrified certain electorate:  young people, other people, particularly African-Americans.  He’s electrified the nation.  I think that he brings us a certain message, a message of hope and a message of a positive future.  He makes politics seem like it’s something of the highest order, now.  And I kind of like that about him.  He’s resonating with people who are looking for a way out, and looking for a brighter future and I think that he’s a perfect candidate, right now and... 

MATTHEWS:  How come he didn’t electrify anybody when he’s running against you, sir? 

RUSH:  Well, he ran up against some history and, you know, he ran up against a person who stayed real connected to his community. 

MATTHEWS:  You. 

RUSH:  And I just think that Obama at that time it was a miscalculation on his part, but that was eight years ago and now we’re looking at today and looking at the future. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, thank you, sir.  The man that beat Barack Obama, U.S.  congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois. 

OLBERMANN:  It is a tight three-way race down in Georgia among Republicans.  We’ve talked about how Barack Obama has been projected as the victor among Democrats.  Republicans too close to call with three of them still in the race.  Those are the hard numbers still less than zero percent.  “Newsweek’s” Howard Fineman, the MSNBC political analyst is in our campaign listening post in Washington and instead of doing the listening right now, he’ll do the talking on how the Republican camps will react to the tightness in Georgia—Howard. 

HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK:  Well, that’s what everybody is studying, because what it indicates No.  1, is that John McCain is no powerhouse in the South and neither, for that matter, is Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee could turn out to be the story of the night in that region of the country. 

Now, the radio talk show hosts, on the conservative side that I talked to just now, including Laura Ingraham, one of the leaders of the anti-McCain band, think this is a plot by the McCain forces to divide the opposition and allow McCain to slip through to the nomination. 

But, in talking to one of the top McCain people, just a few minutes ago, I think they are a little queasy about this.  And in talking to the Huckabee people, they just told me the McCaininites, you know, better watch out, be careful what you wish for because I think Huckabee could do well.  Yes, he’ll divide the anti-McCain vote, but it also means that McCain has not and may well not unify the conservative grassroots on his behalf, even if he wins some of these winner-take-all states.  It’s an ongoing problem for him.  The top Huckabee person I talked to said we’re going to go great guns and we’re in it to win it.  They’re not doing to win it, but they could continue to make life a little difficult for McCain. 

OLBERMANN:  So Howard, this is a very strange looking triangle here among these last three with the Republicans, because if McCain does not unify, the section that would be most likely to breakaway from the GOP and perhaps go third party would seem to have at least the one that would have the best possibility of running a third candidate who’d have some name recognition and get some traction would be those that support Huckabee.  And yet the Romney people think that Huckabee is just the stalking horse here for McCain.  This is—three people here and three different stories, here. 

FINEMAN:  Yes.  And there’s a lot of spinning going on, but my sense from talking to all the camps within the last hour is that this may be a little bit more, just a touch more than the McCain strategists, those clever people bargained for, because there is a possibility that Huckabee will become the candidate of the son of the South and that is a regional split that poses problems for McCain because no Republican nominee can really win the presidency without a firm lock on the South and that’s what he’s looking at, now.  They may win the Pyrrhic victory of knocking Romney back in a lot of places, except perhaps Massachusetts and so forth, but they still have this other they have got to deal with and that poses a problem heading into this big conservative meeting that’s doing take place this weekend in Washington, Keith, the big conservative political action conference. 

I’m told McCain is going to come there armed with audiotape and pictures of when he accompanied Ronald Reagan to that event 30 years ago.  There’ll be testimonies from Nancy Reagan, they’re going to lay it on thick, but it might not be enough. 

OLBERMANN:  For crying out loud, I thought there for a second there you said he said he was coming armed.

(LAUGHTER)

Howard Fineman, who brought up Massachusetts.  Thank you, Howard.

FINEMAN:  You’re welcome.  

OLBERMANN:  And speaking of Massachusetts, another state closing at the top of the hour, exactly 15 minutes from now, MSNBC political analyst, Mike Barnicle, joins us from Boston.  We’ll look at how the races have played out, there. 

Mike, good evening. 

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC ANALYST:  Keith, how are you?  My heart be still on that last line of yours. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, that’s what he said, then he finished the sentence and then my mind started, too.  What kind of, with the—as Chris so aptly pointed out, with Governor Patrick talking about the anti-establishment position and suddenly realizing he and Senator Kerry and at least two-thirds of the Kennedy clan constitute the majority that has now endorsed the seeming establishment candidate all of a sudden, Barack Obama in Massachusetts.  That’s another place that’s standing on its head right now, is it not? 

BARNICLE:  Oh, yeah, surely.  You know, I was listening to Chris’ conversation with Senator Menendez from New Jersey a few moments ago and it struck me that maybe some of the people in politics are so isolated they really don’t understand how much this country is changing, right before our eyes and ears, this evening.  And that might be one of the great stories written in a while.  The country is changing, the volatility of the electorate, not only today, but the last three or four days.

In Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton had a 20 to 25 point lead, Keith, a week before Christmas and now it’s no longer neck-and-neck.  I suspect that Obama is slightly ahead.  We won’t know for a few minutes, the polls will close and then we’ll get a projection, of course.  But, it gets back to what we do love to talk about on these evenings, and it’s interesting, the numbers, the exit poll numbers, and how many percentages of white people are voting for this person and how many Latinos are voting for this person.  But, the larger picture, I would submit, is much more than the numbers, and it’s about this candidate, Barack Obama, win or lose, he is in the process of putting a smile on America’s face.  I find it stunning, this old cynic, I find it stunning. 

OLBERMANN:  And that would be the first time that a smile has been put on your face other than at a motion picture about politics since when? 

BARNICLE:  Or a baseball game.  You know, you know, I mean, the Spring of 1968 comes to mind.  You know, when you had so many young people, eager young people, participating in politics, either Eugene McCarthy or Robert, Kennedy.  I went to five or six different polling places in and around Boston today and I was struck by the number of young people eagerly and actively involved in the campaign on both sides, I might add, for Senator Clinton as well as Senator Barack Obama.  But, they were out there and they were participating in numbers that I haven’t seen in years. 

OLBERMANN:  Giving kind of a Robert Redford feel to the thing, Mike Barnicle in Boston.  Thank you, Mike. 

MATTHEWS:  Keith has been alluding to the starring role of Mike Barnicle in a great movie, “The Candidate.”

OLBERMANN:  Stole it from Redford. 

MATTHEWS:  He upstaged him at bit, didn’t he? 

OK, let’s bring in David Gregory, NBC chief White House correspondent—

David. 

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Looking ahead to

the top of the hour, Chris and Keith, and some of the big states that we are going to hear about, looking at some of the exit polls and hopefully get some results or at least a characterization of where the race is:  Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri. 

I’ve been looking at some of the exit polls on the Republican side out of Missouri and it’s a point Howard Fineman was making about some of the muddle that we’re seeing among conservatives.  It looks like an advantage for Mitt Romney, a strong showing, there.  Yet, among those who have economic concerns, the state of the economy, slight advantage for John McCain, at this point.  Also important in Missouri, the top priority does the candidate share my values, big number there, there’s an advantage for Mike Huckabee.  So, in a bellwether state, we’re going to look at Missouri and see a muddle on this Republican side. 

Democratic side out of Missouri, again, we’re going to look at the white vote.  How is Barack Obama performing there outside of what some people may consider as poor constituency of African-Americans, we’re seeing strong performance in aspects of the South.  We’ll look for that there, we’ll also look for that in states like Alabama—guys. 

OLBERMANN:  David Gregory previewing what we’re going to see at the top of the hour, at 8:00 Eastern Time when we have that massive number of closings including those keys in Massachusetts.  Well, they’re all keys at this point.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  Well, you know, I’m looking at these numbers and I’m thinking, you know, how female the Democratic Party is.  It’s a stunning difference.  There really is a tilt among American women to the Democratic Party and you see in every one of these exit polls.  And you see the opposite in the Republican Party, a more male oriented party.  And yet, I think we may see tonight, as we’re seeing in all kinds of different parameters here, different changes, that just because women are voting in larger numbers than men in almost all of these events, the tilt to Hillary Clinton may not be as dramatic as it was in some of those earlier contests. 

People are voting with tremendous liberty and freedom, I think, now, and they are voting their own way and we keep bumping into people who don’t match the socioeconomic overlay.  They don’t match it, they don’t fit the pattern of voting that they’re supposed to. 

So, let’s go back to Joe Scarborough and the panel for more discussion of the socioeconomic overlay and everything else we might see here tonight.  I don’t think everybody is voting their gender, their ethnic group or whatever, not even always their age—Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, but they do appear, as David Gregory said, on the Republican side, at least, to be voting their ideology. 

Pat, what are we doing to be surprised by tonight? 

BUCHANAN:  I think you might be surprised by Romney in Michigan and in California. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Not Michigan...

BUCHANAN:  Excuse me, Missouri and California.  I think he’s coming up.  His surge isn’t as great as Obama’s, but he’s coming up there.  I’ll tell you what I think is—to make a prediction, Joe, Bill Clinton is going to be blamed for the fact Barack Obama won Georgia by a much larger landslide then he won South Carolina.  He won a far higher percentage of the black vote in Georgia and a far higher percent of the white vote in Georgia.  I think it’ll be attributed to a backlash of the statements that Bill Clinton was making before the South Carolina primary. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yeah, it looks that way.

Rachel, what’s your big prediction tonight? 

MADDOW:  Huckabee lives. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Huckabee lives.

MADDOW:  I think Huckabee lives.  I think Alabama and Tennessee are real possibilities for Huckabee, not just in terms of hurting Mitt Romney’s chances or how he’s going to affect either of the candidates, I think that he’s got a real chance on his own in those states. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How about you—Gene. 

ROBINSON:  Hillary Clinton emerges this evening on her own, basically, because having Bill Clinton at her side is not working. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It’s really hurting her. 

ROBINSON:  And it’s hurting her.  I think this will end up—this evening will end up being a repudiation of Bill Clinton. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, I think, tonight on the conservative side, we will see a repudiation of John McCain.  You know, last week a lot of people were thinking McCain was going to be marching to the nomination after Super Tuesday.  I’m predicting almost a three-way tie.  Huckabee is going to race through the South in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, possibly Oklahoma.  McCain will win the Northeast and maybe Arizona, but that’s doing to be tighter than we expected.  And then you’ve got room in Utah, Massachusetts, Delaware, winner-take-all, possibly Missouri, winner-take-all.  And get this, in California, some exit polls are showing that he didn’t do as well in the early votes, the ones with people already voting, but the Romney people believe they’re seeing a huge surge of support for people who went out and voted today.  So what does it all mean?  A three-way tie. 

BUCHANAN:  It means the conservatives are belatedly moving towards Romney, I think you’re right in the South, Huckabee is holding this huge base of delegates. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Conservatives are going to Huckabee in the South and Romney in the South and they’re going to Romney elsewhere.  That means John McCain is going to have to scratch and claw all the way to Saint Paul.  Back to you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Joe Scarborough.  And talking about your three-way Republican event in Georgia, the hard numbers right now, Mike Huckabee 3,836, John McCain 3,833 votes.  Huckabee by three votes with two percent in Georgia and Mitt Romney in third. 

And as we await the poll closings at the top of the hour, as we’ve mentioned, Romney’s Massachusetts, Obama’s Illinois, all sorts of others, Connecticut, Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee.  Let’s turn to Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington bureau chief, moderator of MEET THE PRESS. let’s talk about this seeming indication of the revival of Mike Huckabee, no pun intended. 

TIM RUSSERT, MEET THE PRESS:  Last week, Keith, we talked about John McCain dangling in front of Mike Huckabee.  Now, Mike Huckabee, what he’s doing for John McCain is extraordinary.  He stopped Romney in West Virginia and what happened in Georgia tonight?  Sixty-four percent of those voters in Georgia, on the Republican side, Evangelical Christians, Huckabee getting 43 percent of them, according to our exit poll.  He is one of the most extraordinary blocking backs for John McCain we’ve seen. 

But, if he puts together this coalition of Southern states tonight, Huckabee is in a position to then counter to John McCain saying, hey, I’m more than a blocking back, I am doing the lord’s work for you.  What is in it for me?  I’m going to keep on going and maybe I’ll become the conservative alternative.  This brings new vigor to Mike Huckabee and I think increases his bargaining position for future relations and negotiations with John McCain. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, he’s got Alabama coming up at 8:00, he’s got Tennessee coming up at 8:00, he’s got Arkansas coming up at 8:30.  And Arkansas will probably look like a big giant star on his forehead, will it not? 

RUSSERT:  No doubt about it.  And that continues that alignment.  It’s something Mitt Romney is dreading, but Mike Huckabee is going to be in a position to say to John McCain:  I have not only stopped Mitt Romney, I have a pot full of delegates from some key states you need.  Oh, and by the way, the radio conservative talk show hosts are giving you a hard time, I’m a former conservative Baptist preacher, I can help you on a lot of fronts, Senator McCain. 

MATTHEWS:  Are we back to not having this settled until Saint Paul?

RUSSERT:  We don’t know yet, Chris.  We want to see how California comes in.  I think California is critical for Mitt Romney.  It’s very difficult to lay a claim tomorrow that he wants this race to go forward if all he has is as a big state is Massachusetts.  If, on the other hand, he’s able to win California and keep Arizona close, then he will go forward saying this race is not over. 

OLBERMANN:  Democrats, Tim, 8:00, of the various ones, obviously Obama not doing well in Illinois is a virtual impossibility.  What’s the key at 8:00 for the Dems?

RUSSERT:  Boy, I want to see New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Keith.  Those were states that Hillary Clinton had sizable leads a few weeks ago.  Has Obama closed those leads?  Has he passed her in those states?  It will tell us a lot about the profile, men-women vote, black-white-Hispanic vote.  Look at Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. 

OLBERMANN:  So, based on what Mike Barnicle just told us in Massachusetts, do we now have to do exit polling to find out if a candidate has put a smile on voters faces?

RUSSERT:  I always listen to Barnicle, I’ll tell you that. 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Tim Russert, MEET THE PRESS, Washington bureau chief.  As always Tim, great thanks.

RUSSERT:  Thanks. 

OLBERMANN:  When we return as promised, the results from the nine closers at 8:00.  They are, again:  Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, as Tim mentioned, so important—Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee.  And then half an hour later:  Arkansas, which has some sort of history with Senator Clinton, I believe.  Those all coming up as Chris Matthews and I continue to lead your coverage of Super Tuesday, here on MSNBC.

KEITH OLBERMANN, NBC ANCHOR:  In nine states and 18 primaries in primaries in those states, it’s pencils down. 

It’s 8:00 on the East Coast.  Polls have indeed closed in nine states.  We have several results to project for you with the polls closed through much of the East. 

Let’s start with the Democrats in Illinois.  No surprise.  In his home state, NBC News projects Senator Barack Obama to win the Illinois Democratic primary.  We’re not characterizing it otherwise.  The victory will have to do for him for now. 

In Oklahoma, we have a projected winner.  The numbers, the polling had indicated Senator Clinton ahead in that state by about 2-1.  NBC News has projected Senator Hillary Clinton the winner of the Oklahoma Democratic primary.  Thus, so far, it is 2-1 in the voting tonight for the Democrats, with Georgia having already gone to Senator Obama earlier.  Again, that’s Illinois and Oklahoma split.  Obama gets Illinois, and Clinton gets Oklahoma. 

The Republicans, the Illinois vote is in.  Based on our projection, in any event, John McCain the projected winner of the Illinois primary by NBC News.  That again was not significantly close in the latest surveys, about a 20 percent lead for McCain in the last polling. 

In New Jersey, the Democrats will have to wait here.  We’re still working on trying to figure that one out.  McCain, who had in the last Zogby poll there pretty much doubled Mitt Romney, is our projected winner in New Jersey as well.  Mitt Romney is the winner in his—the state he formerly served as governor by a sizable margin in the last polling.  Mitt Romney is our NBC News projected victor in the Republican primary in Massachusetts.

And one more just coming in, the Connecticut projected winner for the Republicans, again John McCain.  None of these would be considered surprises.  And that probably explains why the projections could be made as early as they have been.

With the polls closing at 8:00, this is what the Republican map looks like.  And it is a split indeed among the states won by Republicans tonight and throughout this primary season, Chris. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, NBC ANCHOR:  Well, it’s interesting that John McCain, who made a real effort to poach and embarrass Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, failed to do so, and now he leaves himself open to possibly losing in California later tonight.  And if that’s the case, a bad strategic move on his part. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes, resources allocated becomes just as important in this chess game that is Super Tuesday, especially with the Republican winner-take-alls created for them. 

MATTHEWS:  He went for the humiliation of his opponent, rather than the defeat of his opponent, a bad move.  Don’t get mad.  Get even. 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  And then get mad later on. 

MATTHEWS:  And then get ahead. 

OLBERMANN:  When you’re in charge. 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, joining us right now to analyze the latest wave of results, David Gregory, chief White House correspondent for NBC News—David.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, I think, as

you pointed out, none of this really a surprise, but just to underline the point about Massachusetts and John McCain, John McCain was campaigning there yesterday, really getting in Mitt Romney’s face, trying to close on a message that he’s a real conservative. 

He’s been doing that, and he’s also making an appeal that he’s got a broad coalition behind him.  We still wait and see. 

Mike Huckabee, as we have been talking about, a big story on the Republican side.  And we still want to see what happens in Tennessee and in Alabama.  You look at these exit polls in those Southern states and also in Missouri, which is a bellwether, and we see a strong advantage for Mike Huckabee not only among evangelical Christians coming out to vote, but among those voters who say that the most important aspect of their vote is whether the candidate shares their values. 

You see Mike Huckabee doing very well there.  It’s a continuing storyline here, whether he is helpful to McCain in stopping Romney or whether he’s got his own base that is emerging tonight.  Again, also waiting for results in these key states, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey on the Democratic side, where Hillary Clinton has had some very big wins recently. 

MATTHEWS:  Interesting, David, looking at the women voting.  Of course, in the Democratic Party, as we pointed out, women do dominate over men in terms of just basic numbers.  But it’s interesting.  If you look at the states, some of the key states tonight which have already closed, their voting has closed, and we can talk about it, you see in Connecticut, although 61 percent of the vote were women, that the split was only 53 Hillary, 44 Barack. 

If you look at Missouri, it’s only—well, I can’t do—I can Missouri, 50-44.  In New Jersey, 52-46.  So, even though women are voting in heavier numbers in the Democratic caucuses and primaries than men, they’re splitting their vote roughly even in some of these states, and in those states, Barack looks like he may do well. 

GREGORY:  Well, right.  And, obviously, the Obama campaign tonight touting those results in Georgia, where they have got the highest percentage of the female vote that they have gotten so far. 

This was a state, obviously, where he had a large turnout among the young and among African-Americans, a strong showing for him among women in that state. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much, David Gregory, White House correspondent for NBC News. 

OLBERMANN:  After the 8:00 closings, let’s make our tour of the camps. 

Kevin Corke is at Clinton campaign headquarters here in New York—

Kevin.

KEVIN CORKE, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, good evening to you. 

I just talked to a Clinton campaign staffer a little while ago, and I asked her point blank were you disappointed or surprised at all by the numbers out of Georgia, the numbers that seem to suggest that Barack Obama did better much better among white male voters. 

And she said, flatly, no.  She said: “The South is more traditional.  I think we will be just fine.”  Those were her words. 

And of course there’s reason for optimism here tonight.  They expect the senator to not only do well in the Northeast, but also to pull away from Barack Obama as they dot the South and the West.  As you pointed out, she did fairly well in Oklahoma, and they’re very encouraged by that sign this evening - - Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Kevin Corke in New York at Clinton campaign headquarters. 

Now let’s look at the other side of the Democratic stick, out to Obama headquarters in Chicago.  Our David Shuster is standing by there. 

David, good evening. 

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, good evening to you. 

They are so focused on the delegate count tonight that even though they were widely expected of course to win in Illinois, there is still great concern, great interest right now in the Obama campaign about how they did in three congressional districts near Chicago, where the total number of delegates, eight delegates each. 

And, Keith, what they were looking for was, they were looking for not just a 5-3 split in the delegates, but that if Obama could get about 70 percent, it would become 6-2.  In other words, just the pickup of three delegates in the Chicago area beyond what they were already anticipating they would get, it’s that important to them. 

But again, Illinois no surprise, the crowd, of course, starting to fill up here, mostly younger people at the Obama headquarters.  A sense of excitement here tonight.  But again, no surprise in Illinois.  Now they’re looking of course for—to look to some of these battleground states like Missouri to see can they pull the upset over Hillary Clinton that would really make for a big evening for them? -- Keith.

OLBERMANN:  David, to look backwards briefly, did they go along with Chuck Todd’s analysis of Georgia with the large supply of delegates going their way, getting over that hump of 3-1 ratio? 

SHUSTER:  Yes, Keith, they got what they wanted in Georgia.  This was the best-case scenario for them in Georgia.  They got what they wanted.  They were surprised by some of the results as well, particularly the white voters.  But they sense that Georgia is just the tip of the iceberg, Keith, and now they’re raising expectations that maybe what happened in Georgia, if they got what they wanted in Georgia, maybe they did pick off those extra delegates by running up the score in Chicago.  Maybe they can steal some delegates in New Jersey and Missouri. 

They’re feeling very optimistic at this point, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  David Shuster in Chicago with the Obama folks, thanks—

Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Now let’s look at the Republicans.

And MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson is following developments for the McCain campaign out in Phoenix. 

Tucker, are they upset that they failed to poach those votes up in Massachusetts? 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  I think

that was expected.  I flew out this morning from New York with the McCain people.  And while I think they expect to win the nomination ultimately, and they want to, what they really want to do is beat Mitt Romney. 

A furor broke out today over West Virginia, as you know, which Mike Huckabee won.  The Romney campaign has accused the McCain campaign of coordinating with the Huckabee people in order to have Huckabee win.  John McCain denied that today publicly.  There was some skepticism from the press corps over whether that’s true.  But there you have it.

I don’t think they expect to win California.  Or at least they’re claiming they’re planning on winning it.  There’s been some softening in McCain numbers or what appears to be some kind of minor surge by Mitt Romney.  But they’re dampening down expectations about what’s going to happen in this state.  We stopped there for about an hour today. 

There were probably almost half as many dignitaries on the stage as there were spectators in the crowd.  John McCain was introduced by governor of the state, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and then flanked by senators and Charlie Crist, the governor of Florida.  He clearly is the establishment candidate now, though.  And, on the Republican side, that matters. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Tucker Carlson, thank you.

For the view from the Romney campaign, we turn now to NBC’s John Yang in Boston. 

Well, he held his home state. 

JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Not much of a big victory there, surprise there, Chris.  If he had not, it would have been a bigger story. 

The McCain—the Romney officials, rather, based on the expectations that they have sort of outlined for us, are having sort of a mixed night so far.  The three-way tie in Georgia was good news and bad news.  They hoped to be competitive in Georgia, but they hoped to be competitive one on one with McCain.  The fact that they’re fighting with Huckabee for the votes, that there is a conservative vote against McCain, but then Huckabee and Romney are splitting that vote, has got to be frustrating for them. 

The other figures, the numbers, Illinois, they had hoped to be competitive, but the fact that NBC is able to call that race so early suggests it isn’t.  And, of course, they’re looking ahead to the end of the night.  California, they say, will tell, the results in California, particularly the delegate count out of California, will really say a lot about how this campaign can move forward in the days ahead—Chris.  

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much, John Yang. 

Let’s turn now to Norah O’Donnell to take us further inside tonight’s races and how Mike Huckabee is really helping John McCain. 

NORAH O’DONNELL, NBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, John Yang

just mentioned about this.  You were talking about it.

Mike Huckabee may not in the end win many states tonight, but that does not mean that he isn’t going to be a factor.  So, let’s take a look at what we’re calling the Huckabee effect.  The Romney campaign is really worried about this.  And we got an early sense of this today when there was this bitter back and forth, this essentially getting in each other’s face between Romney and Huckabee. 

The Romney campaign accused Huckabee of dirty tricks and backroom bargains to win the West Virginia caucus.  Huckabee responded by calling Romney a whiner.  That’s right.  I mean, ouch.  The bitterness is in part because Huckabee is very popular among social conservatives and Southerners, and he could take a big chunk of that vote away from Mitt Romney. 

Let’s look at the five states where it matters, where Huckabee could hurt Romney and help John McCain, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  Now, in these five states, Huckabee could cost Romney as many as 168 delegates.  That’s according to our political director, Chuck Todd.  That’s why Huckabee matters.  That’s why Romney’s campaign, the senior advisers were telling me today they believe Huckabee is going to be a spoiler in this race—

Chris.  

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, Norah. 

Now let’s—more from our exit polls on the Latino vote.

And for that we go to Lester Holt. 

LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR:  All right, Chris, thanks very much. 

There’s been a great deal of focus on the Hispanic vote, especially in California, where a quarter of the Democratic primary voters are expected to be Latino.  Now, we’re a ways off from the polls closing in California and some of the other heavily Hispanic electorates out West. 

However, we can tell you nationally what we’re learning about Latino Democratic voters.  Among all who cast ballots in the Democratic primary so far today, 15 percent are Hispanic or Latino.  That’s very close to the percentage of African-Americans who are voting.  And here is the breakdown the campaigns will be watching very closely. 

So far, Hispanics are backing Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama by a margin of 61 percent to 38 percent.  Clinton has been counting on support from Latino voters to counter Obama’s strong support among African-Americans.  They’re breaking it down even further.  Clinton runs a bit stronger among Hispanic women than she does among Hispanic men.  Obama still does well with younger voters, but even there, specifically, among those under 30, Clinton has an edge. 

As for issues of concern among Hispanics, it’s the same as for most everyone else.  The economy, it was called a top issue by 54 percent of the Hispanic Democratic voters.  That’s twice as many of those as who called the top issue health care or the war in Iraq. 

While most Hispanic voters in these Democratic primaries feel the economy is doing poorly, a majority, 53 percent, say personally they’re doing OK, they’re holding steady.  However, more than a quarter of these voters actually say they’re getting ahead. 

Finally, Hispanics play an important role in Republican Party politics in some states, such as Florida and Texas, but in today’s mega-primary contests, Hispanic voters are not a major factor in any GOP race, making up just 6 percent of all Republican primary voters across the country. 

And, Keith and Chris, coming up, we just received some numbers looking at the evangelical vote.  It’s really key as we look how it breaks down among the Republican candidates.  I will be back in a while and share those with you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Lester.

OLBERMANN:  All right, now some of the states that closed at 8:00 that we can’t make projections.  This is always perhaps as instructive as the ones in which we actually have some of the hard numbers.  I’m going to see them as you see them.  So, if you don’t see them, that means I haven’t seen them, correct?

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  It’s too close to call in New Jersey.  That’s not a surprise.  We have zero percent of the vote in, Hillary Clinton with a paper lead.  She will take it if it holds up like that, even if there’s not another vote counted.  The last polling we had on this varied wildly.  As late as early this week, it was about 5 percent Clinton. 

Also among the Democrats, too close to call, the state of Connecticut, another critical one.  And, boy, that is too close to call, a 30-vote margin separating the two with 1 percent in.  They closed at 8:00.  And also among the Democrats, too close to call, the Tennessee Democratic primary, a 46-44 split.  A 46-44 split early on; it’s too early to call in Tennessee, where Clinton was up by 20-some-odd points?  Wow. 

Also, among the Democrats, Alabama is too close to call—or rather too early to call.  I correct myself on that and underscore it, too early to call in Alabama with a considerable lead in the early voting, though less than zero percent.  That’s not to be confused with what happened in Tennessee. 

So, those are the Democrats. 

The Republicans in which we cannot yet make calls, too close in Missouri.  There are some votes in.  It will get a little larger than that.  That’s going to be a litmus test certainly for the Midwest or West, depending on whether you live in Missouri or Missouri.  Oklahoma, too close to call as well between Huckabee and McCain there, a difference of 190 votes.  Again, the actual vote counts just beginning to trickle in, considering they all closed 14 minutes ago, 15 minutes ago. 

One more, Tennessee, too close to call, too early to call in Tennessee, McCain over Romney.  And also one more in now from the 8:00 closing that is too early to call, the Alabama race, which is expected, however, to be, as you see, between Huckabee and McCain. 

So, if there was one headline in that group, as I think I’m expecting we’re finish, Tennessee is too—Tennessee Democrats are too early to call, too early to call? 

MATTHEWS:  This is an amazing night, Keith.  This is very interesting. 

OLBERMANN:  You don’t have to—we don’t have to elaborate on that. 

All right, coming up, we’re going to get the view from the Republican side of this equation, as we continue to track the results as they come in from across the country, or, in Tennessee’s case, do not come in from across the country. 

And we want to welcome our viewers for the first time joining us across Asia, on Channel News Asia.  We’re coming to you live from our MSNBC global news headquarters in New York City. 

You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday.

We now have a call.  We now have a call from?  From Tennessee.  All right.  A little bit of that heart-stopping effect has been saved.  Hillary Clinton is the projected winner from Tennessee, not to try to egg any of the projections or predictions here. 

But there it is, all right, Tennessee in the Clinton column. 

And now we will take our break and come back with more after this.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We just saw that.  Senator Clinton just picked up Tennessee, a projected win for her in the state, one of the really—first really surprising results we have gotten so far.  So far tonight on the Democratic side, it’s as predicted for a while now. 

But let’s welcome in MSNBC’s coverage. 

We’re going to go right now to Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who endorsed John McCain.

It’s kind of hard to see through this glass darkly tonight, Senator, of what’s happening tonight on the Republican side.

SEN. MEL MARTINEZ ®, FLORIDA:  Well, a little early to tell, Chris, but it’s amazing that it’s only been a week since the Florida primary, quite frankly.  It seems like that was ages ago.  And that’s how fast this year and how fluid it is.

I still think it’s going to be a big night for John McCain.  He clearly is going to win in the Northeast.  He’s going to have—take some of the South, and the big prize in California.  I guess we will have to stay up late to know about that one.

But I think it’s going to be a very good night for John.  I think it’s going to be a night where he can pretty well consolidate the delegate count, which is really, at the end of the day, what this is all about.

MATTHEWS:  Well, what good is it for your party if your candidate wins in all the states he can’t win in November?

MARTINEZ:  Well, that is why it’s important that John McCain be our nominee, because I think John McCain...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No, but I mean, these states are going to be very hard for a Republican to carry—Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut.  These are Democratic states, historically.

What good is it to pick someone who can’t win—who can win there in the primaries but can’t win the general?

MARTINEZ:  Well, you’re going to have in John McCain a person who can consolidate his support in the Midwest and the far West, as well as in the South.  And there are, obviously, states that the Republicans don’t do well in general elections.  I mean, New York has been one of those.

But I think John McCain is the kind of candidate that can appeal to Independents, that can appeal across party lines, and who, frankly, I believe is the one the Democrats fear the most.

MATTHEWS:  In Florida, you had a special advantage.  Yourself and Governor Crist, both popular in that state, endorsed John McCain.  He doesn’t seem to have that advantage going for him in Georgia.

MARTINEZ:  Well, you know, I was really pleased that Senators Chambliss and Isakson both endorsed McCain.  And I think at the end of the day, you know, it’s—every state is different.

I was surprised to see what seems to be very different outcomes between

Georgia and Alabama, who you would think would be somewhat similar in

demographics.  So, it’s just a very difficult—and it’s a little too early to

tell, but it’s a very year to make many predictions

MATTHEWS:  Do you think Mike Huckabee should be on the ticket with John McCain?

MARTINEZ:  You know, I have said all along I thought, you know, Governor Mike Huckabee would make an excellent vice presidential choice.  He’s been terrific throughout the campaign, he’s done a great job.  But that is a candidate’s decision to make, and I’m not going to make any predictions on that one either.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I’m trying to figure out this party, because it seems to me that no one has really caught on.

McCain has won on points.  Mitt Romney’s having a very hard time selling himself to evangelicals.  Maybe because of his LDS Mormon religion.  I’m not sure.

Huckabee has a hard time dying, but it’s a strange situation here.  Huckabee is staying in long enough to destroy any hopes for Romney without necessarily making John McCain look strong in the South.

MARTINEZ:  Well, John McCain is Lazarus, don’t you remember?

MATTHEWS:  Right.

MARTINEZ:  The great—you know, the great survivor, or recovery, whatever you want to call it.  And I think he is beginning to consolidate support.

There’s obviously some people that are still grumpy about John McCain, but at the end of the day, I think once he becomes the presumptive nominee, our party will rally around him and will come together.  I think it’s time we begin to do that.  I really hope that tonight will be decisive enough where we can begin to consolidate behind one candidate.  I think that’s the kind of excitement we need.

MATTHEWS:  Well, the trouble with the Lazarus theory—I know we’re both Christians, Senator...

MARTINEZ:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  ... but the trouble with the Lazarus thing is tonight that would make Mike Huckabee Jesus.

MARTINEZ:  No, I don’t know.  Now, wait a minute.

MATTHEWS:  That wouldn’t be too appropriate for us in this business of politics.

MARTINEZ:  You’re moving him up in rank.

MATTHEWS:  I mean, Huckabee seems to be saving John McCain’s delegates tonight.  He’s taken them all away from the other cultural conservative, if you will.

MARTINEZ:  Well, there’s a three-way primary going on.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

MARTINEZ:  And that’s the way it breaks out.  I mean, you know, last week Giuliani was taking votes from McCain in Florida.

So, you know, you can’t pick and choose who your opponents are going to be.  And I think John McCain is continuing to show tonight—and I think he will before the night’s out—that he is the guy, that he is going to be our presumptive nominee before very long here.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  McCain/Huckabee on the road tonight.

Thank you very much, Senator Mel Martinez of Florida.

Up next: analysis from the Super Bowl of politics from NBC’s Tom Brokaw. 

You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you with MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday. 

We’re moments away from polls closing in Arkansas at the bottom of the hour. 

As we wait, we’re joined once again by NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

Tom, we used the analogy going into this that this was Super Tuesday, the Super Bowl of politics.  The analogy probably is not apt.  What is it, closer to the first night of the college basketball playoffs? 

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS:  It’s not parallel.  Because it is Super Tuesday, it is not the Super Bowl.  It seems unlikely, then, on the Democratic side that either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama will be able to play the part of Eli Manning and in the closing two minutes of tonight drive the field and throw a winning touchdown pass, after escaping a couple of sacks or near-sacks. 

I think the very likely result of tonight is that it will be scrambled.  One will have an advantage over the other in delegates, but the larger score probably will be determined by momentum.  Will it continue for Senator Obama, or does Senator Clinton check him tonight? 

Now, in the exit poll, Keith, which I have been going through here, there are some pretty encouraging signs for Senator Obama, based on what we have been seeing so far, interviewing voters as they left the polls.  He wins every age group in our exit poll up to the age of 50.  From 17 to 50, he wins every age group, and then Senator Clinton wins those age groups 50 and above. 

When people are asked what matters most to them about the candidates, they say that change matters by a factor of almost 2-1 over experience.  So, those are two very strong signs for Senator Obama to build on tonight, if he continues to need to do that. 

OLBERMANN:  What is the value of an anecdote like this?  I know we look for numbers and big trends and such, but just take us inside Johnson County, Kansas, the Republican stronghold, as the note here suggests: precincts packed, lines out the doors, wrapped around buildings. 

There’s only a Democratic primary there tonight. 

BROKAW:  Well, it doesn’t surprise me.  I have been traveling the country a lot in the last year for a variety of reasons, and, everywhere I go, people are tuned into this election.  They ask very sophisticated questions. 

Moreover, in a wide variety of audiences, I find very few people who are wedded to kind of past ideological positions.  It doesn’t mean that they have given up their core principles, but they’re willing to look across the line at other candidates and other points of view more than at any time I can remember in my long political reporting career. 

This election has the same dynamics, if you will, the same drama as 1968, but the country is scrambled in a way, but all the nerve endings are exposed.  People want to participate this time.  And we’re going to see this as we have been, not just tonight, but in all of these primaries and caucuses up to this point, Keith.  And that’s a very heartening sign. 

OLBERMANN:  2,000 in Prairie Village, Kansas.  They were prepared for 500.

Tom Brokaw, many thanks.  We’ll talk to you again.

BROKAW:  OK, Keith.

Chris?

MATTHEWS:  The polls have closed in Arkansas now.  I stayed very close to the candidates of Clinton and Huckabee.  Hillary Clinton is the projected winner on the Democratic side.  On the Republican side, it’s former Governor Mike Huckabee. 

That’s Hillary Clinton winning in her home state of Arkansas, where she was first lady for so many years.  And Mike Huckabee, again, the projected winner in the state where he was governor for several terms. 

We’ll be right back with more coverage from Keith and I on Super Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Very early on the night of Super Tuesday, here’s the Democratic map so far.  Georgia for Obama tonight.  Illinois, obviously, for Obama tonight.  Clinton in Oklahoma.  Clinton in Tennessee.  The others too close or too early to call, those that closed at 8:00 eastern time, 34 minutes ago. 

The Republicans, as you see, McCain in Connecticut, McCain in Illinois, Romney in Massachusetts, McCain in jersey.  And the others are too close or too early to call.  Huckabee in West Virginia.  The others from early on in the primary process.

Let’s now go back to—we have a Republican call in Delaware.  Let’s see that board.  The Delaware Republican call is Senator John McCain—is the projected winner by “NBC News” in Delaware for the Republican primary.  So we can add on to that map a little bit.  Flesh that one out.  That had been too early to call, and now it got a little bit later.  The actual vote, 46-32, looking comfortable at this stage, with 7 percent of the voting in.  And that matches up to the last bit of polling there at the corner of January and February, which was McCain by six and an undecided and margin of error total of 14 percent. 

So Delaware to John McCain, the latest “NBC News” projection.  Move that out of too early to call into the McCain category, for what continues to be a strong night for the Senator from Arizona. 

And now back to Lester Holt with more from our exit polling on how conservatives and independents voted today.  Lester joining us from what looks like the set from the movie “Tron.” 

Lester, good evening. 

HOLT:  That’s right.  We have to return it at the end of the night, Keith. 

Let’s talk about evangelical voters.  They’ve been a bedrock group for the GOP.  The problem for this party in this election is that evangelicals have yet to unite around any one candidate.  In other words, they haven’t fallen in love. 

About three-fourths of Republicans who have voted today are white evangelical Protestants.  This is a coast-to-coast snapshot.  The number of evangelicals are likely to be stronger in some states, especially in the south. 

Tonight, as seen in some of the early primaries, the three major candidates are splitting the evangelical vote.  Mike Huckabee with a tiny edge at 33 percent, while Mitt Romney got 31 percent, and John McCain 30 percent. 

What evangelicals told us is they want a candidate who shares their values.  53 percent said that was the most important quality.  That’s somewhat higher than among other Republicans.  For those shared value voters, things are breaking slightly for Mike Huckabee.  He got 33 percent of their vote.  Mitt Romney and John McCain each getting 30 percent. 

What’s the bottom line here?  As they three men continue to fight to be the conservative standard bearer, they are failing so far in winning over this group that has been so important in past elections.  Keith and Chris? 

OLBERMANN:  Lester, great.  Thanks. 

MATTHEWS:  Let’s go right down to Joe Scarborough and the panel. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Thank you so much. 

Pat Buchanan, that’s fascinating.  33 percent of evangelicals or Huckabee, and 30 percent for Romney.  Earlier we heard evangelicals would be too bigoted to vote for a Mormon, and that’s a lie.  It’s a lie.  They’re voting for him. John McCain getting 30 percent of the evangelical vote.  My guess is those are the ones concerned with Islamic radicalism.  So no kills from evangelicals tonight.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  There is not.  McCain is doing as well as expected.  He’s winning everything he’s supposed to win.  Huckabee is sort of the story in the south.  His strength has been pretty good.  Romney is mostly anticipation.  I think he’s got to do something in Missouri or something in California, or it’s going to be a pretty tough night for him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We all expected—it’s 8:38 on the east coast.  The only polls that have closed, eastern polls.  We didn’t expect Romney to win thinking in the northeast. 

But one thing we can say, Rachel, right now, tonight looks like a better than expected night for Mike Huckabee.  Is this guy is playing for vice president, this is one big chip he can throw in the Senate.  Well, he’s a preacher.  He doesn’t gamble.  But this is—he can close his Bible and thank Jesus, because tonight’s strengthening his hand. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, a lot has been made on kind of the issues desk about talk radio hating John McCain, about the talk radio and the conservative movement really hating John McCain. What if it is? 

What if the real factor here that drives results for the nomination, if it

isn’t the hatred of John McCain, but rather than the hatred of the other

candidates for Mitt Romney, so much so that they’ll work in cahoots to defeat

him

SCARBOROUGH:  And we’ve seen, Gene, that’s exactly what happened up in Delaware, where Mitt Romney won, but basically McCain and Ron Paul said, let’s beat the rich guy. 

EUGENE ROBINSON:  This is the dynamic of the Republican race right now.

SCARBOROUGH:  It’s Romney against the field. 

ROBINSON:  They’re ganging up on him.

SCARBOROUGH:  It’s one guy against everybody. 

ROBINSON:   They are ganging up on him.  We hear frustration from the Romney camp, and rightly so.  I would be frustrated too if I was getting pounded on by both sides.  Huckabee seems to be playing for a spot on the ticket, and maybe he’ll get it. 

MADDOW:  Mike Huckabee is saying, yeah, I’d love to be vice president, or you can just allow me to rub this in Mitt Romney’s face.  If I can do it personally, I’d be satisfied too.  It’s a sense of hatred for Mitt Romney. 

ROBINSON:  Calling him a whiner, that sort of thing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But let’s say this about Mike Huckabee tonight.  Mike Huckabee tonight is going to win as many states probably as Mitt Romney. 

But Pat Buchanan, after tonight, there’s only one other state in the south, Mississippi down the road, that Mike Huckabee is going to win.  So it seems like, if he’s going to make the deal with McCain—or I would suggest the Romney people call and one-up him—tonight he’s going to have his strongest hand. 

BUCHANAN:  But he may not win states, but he’s still taking away votes.  He’s taking away evangelical votes and taking away conservative votes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And he’s take them from Romney. 

BUCHANAN:  He’s taking away Romney.  You’ve got to ask yourself, if McCain is getting 30 percent of evangelicals, if Huckabee drops out, does that automatically mean they all go to Romney?  I’m not sure.  There seems to be resistance in the south to Romney emerging as the Democratic candidate. 

SCARBOROUGH:  There’s no doubt about it, Rachel, that there are enough conservatives who aren’t listening to Rush and aren’t listening to Hannity and aren’t listening to Laura Ingraham, who are going with John McCain, and they’re doing it because they’re more afraid of Islamic radicals than they are a liberal on the Supreme Court. 

MADDOW:  Even if we decide that conservative anger is driving this, there’s no place for them to go.  They can be mad at McCain because Rush and Laura tell them too.  They can be mad at Huckabee because he’s a populist, and Rush and Laura Ingraham tell them to hate Huckabee as well.  But Mitt Romney, they’ve all seen the tapes of him running to the left of Ted Kennedy.  They’ve all seen him flip-flop on so many issues of concern to social conservatives.  There’s no obvious great choice in the...

BUCHANAN:  And the one issue, the big issue, if...

ROBINSON:  And conservatives, if 2 out 36 are voting against John McCain, then assuming that McCain gets the nomination, how strong is he coming out of that process? 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Pat, let’s talk about this because you brought up a great point.  Everyone said, oh, John McCain can get Independents.  You know what, that only works when you hold your base down first and then reach and get the Independents and bring them over to you.  The problem is McCain’s been going this way for a long time, and the base is behind him, and they ain’t following.  How do you win in the fall without your base? 

BUCHANAN:  He’s a very weak front-runner.  In the red states, Deep South, Huckabee is taking them away from him.  Romney is pulling more down there. 

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, killing him.  He’s winning all the blue states. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  John McCain is winning every state that he will be routed in this fall.  What good does that do for him in the fall? 

BUCHANAN:  It does make Huckabee attractive, but then if you put Huckabee on the ticket, you go north and debate evolution. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I guarantee you Mike Huckabee sitting with his popcorn popper.  He’s got the squirrels.  He’s putting them in and frying them up.  It may be a big celebration. 

BUCHANAN:  It may be the night to deal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is the night to deal, and, of course, we on “Morning Joe” created Mike Huckabee.  There’s a fight between who did. 

But, Keith, Mike Huckabee said himself we did.  We will take credit tonight as this power broker now moves forward.  I think this is his night to deal.  Mike Huckabee, looking good tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  And the squirrel pizza arrives at what point? 

I have a bookend for you before we go to Chuck Todd, Joe.  A Hillary Clinton press release that starts with, after the Arkansas call, “We’re very excited that Hillary Clinton has added a third red state in her victory column.”  So there’s your parallel with what we’re talking about with John McCain. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Good luck in the fall getting Arkansas on your side, Hillary. 

OLBERMANN:  Let’s turn to Chuck Todd, political director for “NBC News.”  More on the political drama as it changes throughout the evening—

Chuck? 

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, Keith—and I apologize for this because obviously we have—“NBC” is going to have an official number, and only as we know delegates are coming in, we’re doing those numbers.  That numbers are going to be a little bit slower than the estimates the campaigns are making and we’re making in the political unit.

In talking to both of the campaigns, we have a pretty good idea for all the states that have closed, what the splits are going to be. 

Let me start in Arkansas, where the Clinton campaign is very happy.  They did a little bit better than they thought, got a couple more delegates than they think.  They think they’re going to get a 23-12 split.  That’s almost two to one.  They basically over performed.  They thought Obama underperformed particularly.  I think the congressional district is the place they thought he would do well, in the fourth congressional district.  So they’re going to have that kind of split. 

If you move to Georgia, 60-27.  This is something the Obama people are ecstatic about.  Of those 87, they think they’re going to have 60 to 61 delegates out of there, about 10 more than they estimated.  The Clinton folks always had it about this, or so they say as things are moving on. 

In Illinois, the Obama people believe they’re going to get well over 100 delegates out of here.  This is going to be fun to compare. 

We’re a couple minutes away from when New York polls close, but out of these 150 plus delegates, looks like he’s going to get at least 111 out of there, maybe they get a couple more.  But that’s what both campaigns seem to agree on. 

Now I want to highlight Massachusetts.  We’re obviously nowhere near calling Massachusetts, but we have an idea of where the votes coming in.  And this is one where both campaigns think it’s very possible that the candidate that wins the popular vote could actually lose the delegates, particularly on the Clinton side.  The Clinton folks believe they over performed in the western part of the state and they will do a little better there in some delegate splits.  And if Obama ends up winning the popular vote, he may be running up the score in and around Boston.  And therefore, you know, not get any extra delegates in those areas. 

We could see—Massachusetts one of those states to watch tonight where the person that wins the primary might not get the delegates.  It’s going to be pretty even.  There’s 93 delegates.  Probably going to be 48-45 in one direction or the other.  As you’re doing your math at home, you can do that. 

By the way, Tennessee might end up being—obviously, it was a big enough win for Clinton that we were able to call it pretty early.  But the delegate split, she’s only going to get maybe eight more delegates out of Tennessee than Obama.  It really shows you the way this proportional system works.  She may get a 38-30 advantage in delegates of the 68 delegates, and yet she may win by ten points.  Percentage-wise, she’s going to have a greater victory on the popular vote than she is on the delegate vote. 

And Oklahoma another state she’s running up the score, and yet she may only net eight delegates out of there because of the way the split works.  One estimate we were able to come up is 23-15 of those delegates.  That’s only a net eight, and yet she’s going to win possibly by a big, big number in Oklahoma. 

OLBERMANN:  Just shows you how things change, Chuck.  You mentioned Georgia.  If it’s a 60-27 delegate split for Obama, in October of last year, polling in October of last year in Georgia, Senator Clinton 40 percent, Senator Obama 27 percent.  That’s how things can change even in supposed locked areas. 

Chuck Todd, thanks greatly. 

Up next, a look at the poll closings coming at the top of the hour.  The big prize among them, New York State.  Our first big indication of how the southwest will vote.  New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will join us.  This is MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Coming up, nine minutes until the top of the hour, polls closing in New York state, as well as south western states, Arizona—that may be John McCain territory—and New Mexico. 

For more on the race in the southwest, it’s a pleasure to be joined by new Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former presidential candidate on the Democratic side. 

Governor, thanks for your time tonight. 

BILL RICHARDSON, (D), GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL

CANDIDATE:  Nice to be with you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Good news or bad news that there were long lines reported throughout the state tonight, and in some places Democratic caucuses running out of ballots?  The good with the bad there, in your estimation? 

RICHARDSON:  Well, that’s good news.  It’s good news for the Democratic Party.  There’s a huge vote, protest vote against Republican policy, and it’s a record turnout even though we’ve had a storm in the northern part of the state, where a lot of Hispanic voters live.  The turnout is huge. 

It’s a record turnout in New Mexico.  I’m hearing the same in Arizona and Colorado, Utah, California, and this is the primary that—February 5th is the day where the Hispanic vote comes out in droves.  And I believe it’s going to be decisive not just today, but in the general election. 

OLBERMANN:  In Arizona it’s 17 percent of the vote that’s Latino.  In your state, 38 percent.  Do you have an explanation for why that group seems to be backing Senator Clinton and even bigger numbers than Caucasian voters are? 

RICHARDSON:  Because the Clintons have had a long history with Hispanic voters, a very positive history.  And I’m detecting, though, that Senator Obama is picking up a lot of support among younger Hispanics, new generational Hispanics, but older, middle class Hispanics that know the Clintons generally are sticking with them, but it’s still too early to tell.  There is an Obama surge among Hispanic voters, particularly those under 45 that I’m detecting. 

The turnout was huge.  Right in my precinct today, Keith, when I was voting, a voter literally turned around to see my right before he voted and said I haven’t made up my mind.  I haven’t made up my mind.  I’m really going to make up my mind.  I said, well, you’d better do it because you’ve got about two seconds. 

OLBERMANN:  I’m going to interrupt you just for a second because we’re going to call Alabama on the Republican side. 

Not a big surprise, but it is Mike Huckabee’s.  Mike Huckabee is the projected winner in Alabama in the Republican primary.  That one of the 8:00 closes that had been considered too early or too close to call.  It is now going to be, despite the fact that 10 percent of the real vote is in and shows Huckabee trailing, the exit polls and the other numbers suggest that, when it’s over, it will be Mike Huckabee’s victory in Alabama. 

Back to new Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. 

You suggested something we heard throughout from Democrats this evening from all the exit polling.  When we come down to demographic breakdowns throughout the nation, do we have to throw out the old traditional models of African-American voters, Latino voters?  If it’s anything—if it’s not even gender anymore, is it now age? 

RICHARDSON:  I think it’s right now totally up for grabs.  Nobody is making up their mind on race, gender, even age, Keith.  I think you’re seeing the dissolution of those ethnic blocks voting for certain candidates.  I think candidates, voters want accomplishment.  They want change.  They want experience. 

But there’s surely among Democratic voters, I’m detecting a huge protest vote against Republican policies.  Turnouts are huge.  In New Mexico, it’s going to be a record.  I think you’re going to see the same in California.  There’s a real thirst for change, and that’s going to favor us in November. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much, Bill Richardson out in New Mexico. 

Sorry.  I didn’t get to ask you any good questions tonight? 

NBC’s Tim Russert is with us now. 

Tim, I am stunned at the educational level of the typical voter on the Democratic side.  You and I grew up in a party, looking at the Democratic Party, as largely a working class base.  In almost every one of the eastern states now, 3 out of 5 voters who vote in the primaries today are full college graduates.  Is that good news for Barack Obama?  How do we read that development? 

TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF & “MEET THE PRESS”

MODERATOR:  He’s been drawing from that universe.  In a national election, in a general election, the Democrats have to do better than that.  They have to get those Reagan Democrats back into the fold.  I think that’s what Hillary Clinton has been trying to do with her campaign. 

The most striking thing to me, Chris as we approach 9:00 p.m. on the east coast is Connecticut and New Jersey and Massachusetts.  All those polls have been closed, and yet we have not called a winner, which means that no matter who wins, it’s going to be a close race, which means under Democratic party rules, the delegates are going to be split very evenly, which plays into what Chuck Todd was explaining earlier, this delegate by delegate count. 

And so what was supposed to be a definitive night, Super Tuesday, we’re going to know who’s going to be the Democratic nominee—I don’t think so.  It looks like it’s going to be tighter than ever, and the race goes on.  And we got to start looking at which primaries are now going to be in successive weeks leading up to March 4th with Texas and Ohio. 

MATTHEWS:  Let’s look at trend not just a snapshot, Tim.  If you look over the last couple of months, clearly, if he had called in all of these Super Tuesday states, almost all of them, except for Illinois perhaps and Georgia, Hillary Clinton would have been well ahead, Senator Clinton would have been owning most of these primaries tonight. 

The fact that it’s a close call, in the delegates as well as the state total, does that tell you there’s a trend gradually emerging towards Senator Obama or not? 

RUSSERT:  The Obama people will say they’ve made up 20 and 30 points in each of these states.  The Clinton people, if they win, will say, however, a win’s a win, and we get a few more delegates.  And that’s what the game is all about. 

MATTHEWS:  Tim, excuse me.  Here comes a big declaration. 

Massachusetts, according to “NBC News,” has been won tonight.  Massachusetts, according to “NBC News” has been won tonight, the projected winner in the base state, Hillary Clinton. 

That was one that she should have won.  That was a favorite for her, wasn’t that, Tim? 

RUSSERT:  She’s considerably ahead, but when you have the Governor Deval Patrick and the two Senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, the Obama people were hopeful they could make a tight race of it.  They obviously have.  I’d be interested to see the delegate count.  But look for Hillary Clinton to take a lot of boasting rights by saying she won Massachusetts over Ted Kennedy. 

OLBERMANN:  Tim Russert, thanks. 

That’s Massachusetts for Hillary Clinton.  In just a few moments, the polls will be closed in three more key primaries, including another one of the big ones, New York, also, the caucus states.  More results at 9:00 eastern right after this break.

KEITH OLBERMANN, CO-HOST:  It’s 9:00 p.m. on the east coast, and polls have closed in six states.  You’re looking at some of the latest projections.  Massachusetts, as we described it just before the hour, Hillary Clinton with an expected victory over Barack Obama.  That’s the projections by NBC News.  The New York primary, which closed 20 seconds ago, has now been projected for Hillary Clinton in New York among the Democrats.  The last polling there had indicated that Hillary Clinton was winning by the 10 percent to 20 percent range, depending on which poll you consulted, more towards the 20 percent range.  And our projection is that Illinois, as you know already, Obama is going to take his home state.  Those are the early hard numbers, a 14 percent lead there.  Among the Democrats in Georgia, this one went quite early, and apparently, according to Chuck Todd, project to a delegate count of 60 for Obama and 27 for Clinton.  So that’s a landslide coming in Georgia.  The projection has already been made for Obama.  In Tennessee, Hillary Clinton projected to win that one with 8 percent of the hard vote in, about doubling, a little less than that, Barack Obama.  Oklahoma has been projected as well for the Democrats, for Hillary Clinton.  Not close there as of the early one-fifth poll in the actual vote count.  And in New Jersey, a critical state that got into play recently.  Too close to call despite that early big difference, 10 percent.  Too close to call rather than too early to call.  Also still on the board, not yet called, Missouri Democrats, too close to call with 4 percent of the actual vote in.  And no clear trend apparent.  And in Connecticut, the New York metropolitan area, providing surprises and too close to call events.  Tonight a quarter of the vote is in, and it’s 4,000 difference between them and too close to call based on our NBC News projection.  There is the Democratic map tonight.  It includes also all those states that have been awarded in the primary season prior to tonight, Super Tuesday, of course.

Now looking at the Republicans, we’ll begin in Illinois.  The NBC News projection that Senator John McCain will win that one and the early vote suggests he will win it handily but it still very early, 97 percent still outstanding.  New Jersey, as we suggested to you earlier, has been called for John McCain over Romney, with Huckabee placing a distant third in the first tenth of actual hard voting.  Massachusetts, of course, Mitt Romney was governor there and has a sizable lead with 15 percent of vote in.  He is the projected winner by NBC News in Massachusetts.  In Connecticut, John McCain projected, the adjoining nutmeg state going handily with a quarter of its vote in to McCain over Romney, with Huckabee barely placing there.  And in Delaware, a handy victory, now well over 50 percent, pushing 60 percent of the vote in the Republican primary and the NBC News projection is John McCain in Delaware.  It is too close to call in Missouri between Huckabee and McCain.  And a very low vote count so far with an even smaller differential of only 500 votes between the two men.  And also too close to call in Oklahoma.  Again, between McCain and Huckabee, and a very tight difference with 20 percent of that vote in.  Also closing the caucuses and the other primary votes as you look at the Republican board, patchy at best among the four candidates still standing in the Republican field.  Delaware has now just been called.  Let’s go to that one.  Delaware and the Democrats.  NBC news projecting that Barack Obama will win the state of Delaware.  That had previously been too close to call.  Give that one in the land of the Dupont’s at a 50-45 split with two-thirds of the actual vote already counted by adept and hard working Delaware vote processors.  Barack Obama projected the NBC projected winner of the state of Delaware Democratic primary 2008.  Chris?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, CO-HOST:  Let me now try to look through a glass darkly at what’s happened so far tonight.  And what’s happened so far tonight on the Republican side is basically a series of regional victories by Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, in the south, winning in West Virginia, Alabama, and in Arkansas.  That’s a regional victory for him.  He’s very strong in the Bible belt.  John McCain winning in the northeast, and, of course, winning in Illinois states as the Republican Party has had very time in recent presidential elections getting close to winning.  So, if you’re against McCain’s chances, you have a case to make.  He won Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey—states the Republicans just don’t seem to carry these days.

Now, on the Democratic side, it’s fascinating.  Nothing big has happened tonight so far in terms of discerning who’s going to win tonight f that word win means something tonight in terms of picking up states because Hillary Clinton has done something a lot of people would find unimaginable looking at it from the outside.  That’s beat Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts, beat John Kerry in Massachusetts.  She did both of that tonight.  She won apparently handily up there in that base state, which tells you that her base of support and a base of support earned by her and her husband, the former president Bill Clinton, is very, very strong in Massachusetts.  Once again, Ted Kennedy has sailed against the wind and lost in an attempt to try to bring his influence to bear in Massachusetts, which is so interesting here tonight.  In the states where Obama has won, he’s won in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, his home state, no surprise there.  Hillary Clinton has won in Oklahoma, no surprise there, and in Tennessee and in her home state of Arkansas, where she was first lady and, of course, in New York, where she’s the U.S. senator.

No big surprises tonight, but the news so far, as I said, the Republicans are breaking up their victories according to regional favorites, and the Democrats have yet to make a clear choice tonight that we can discern looking at the results so far, except Hillary Clinton has avoided losing in Massachusetts by beating the Kennedys, a very impressive victory for her in the base state.  Joining us right now to analyze the latest wave of results, David Gregory, chief White House correspondent for NBC news.  David?

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Interesting,

Chris, in New York, everybody trying to lay claim to the change mantel in this election.  Well, in New York, if you’re top priority was who could bring change, two to one margin goes for Barack Obama, even in Hillary Clinton’s home state.  Not going to change the result, but interesting flavor.  More flavor from around the country, we see it in toss-up states we’re waiting for like Arizona and New Mexico.  You’ve got Barack Obama performing very well in the white vote as well.  The key to those states, of course, the Latino vote.  Still you have the edge for Hillary Clinton there.  We talk about the various strategies.

Let’s look on the Republican side tonight.  You talked about the regional aspect to this, and we see that Mike Huckabee, who set out to win the south, be the south’s favorite son, is doing well there, whether it just helps him or does it also help John McCain, we’ll find out.  John McCain doing well in the northeast, but it appears he wasted time going to Massachusetts trying to get in Mitt Romney’s face.  He doesn’t win there.  Maybe that time is better spent down in Georgia, which is still a tight contest.  What about Romney’s strategy tonight?  We are waiting for some key results tonight in Colorado and Minnesota.  That’s part of the Romney firewall, if you will, tonight.  Part of that firewall was West Virginia.  That’s something that Mike Huckabee took today, not Mitt Romney.  So we watched those states closely as well.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, David Gregory.

OLBERMANN:  OK, let’s go back to Lester Holt with more from our exit polling, this time on the issues of race and gender.  Some of the experts are saying this is perhaps not the key element to it, as it might have been in the past.  But it—it may have been succeeding, as we were discussing, Chris, with Bill Richardson, the prospect that the key demographic breakdown tonight is going to be age.  We’re going to give it to Lester Holt in a moment.

MATTHEWS:  Even among Latinos, as he pointed out.  It’s fascinating and to a large extent refreshing to hear people are not voting the way their parents vote.  They’re actually opening up their minds and hearts to a different pattern of voting in every group, it seems.

OLBERMANN:  I believe that would be the idea of everyone having their own vote.

MATTHEWS:  And thinking for themselves.  Mommy, daddy, don’t—actually, the fascinating thing as I’ve said earlier today was that it used to be you told your kids.  Damn it, get out there and register to vote and be a good citizen.  Now, in many cases, we hear kids anecdotally calling their parents and saying, would you get involved with this candidate.  Would you get your butt in gear and do something for the country.  It is inspiring to hear that the young are leading the old in patriotism of the best kind, I think.

OLBERMANN:  You didn’t start to say butt.  All right.  Now, Lester Holt with more on the divisions of race and gender.

LESTER HOST, NBC NEWS:  Hi, Keith, good evening, again.  In answer to the question, are there gender and race gaps in the Democratic contest tonight?  You bet there is, and we’re going to show you how it breaks down nationally tonight.  Women are in the majority as they have been in all Democratic contests held so far, 57 percent of the voters are female, 43 percent are male.  Tonight, Hillary Clinton leads among women by six points, 51 percent to 45 percent.  As for men, they’re breaking the other way, and by a wider margin.  Take a look at the numbers here.  Barack Obama has a nine-point advantage among men, 53 percent to 42 percent.  When we asked women and men about the role of gender in their vote, relatively few, just one in four women and one in five men say, it was a factor.  Now, what about race?  Here you can see that Barack Obama leads among black voters by a big margin.  He gets 80 percent of the ballots cast and just 17 percent for Hillary Clinton.  The white vote goes to Hillary Clinton but by a close margin, 51 percent to 44 percent. 

Obama’s white support is running higher today than it did in the recent Florida

and South Carolina primaries, where he got only about a quarter of the white

vote.  Also, Keith and Chris, as we mentioned earlier in these Democratic

primaries, Hispanic voters are breaking strongly for Hillary Clinton tonight

OLBERMANN:  Lester Holt with exit polling.  Great.  Thanks, Lester.  The Clinton camp has already put out a statement about Massachusetts, which has been called in their candidate’s favor, and describing it, based on Chris’ point about Senators Kennedy and Kerry campaigning for Obama, that Clinton won the state.  The Clinton campaign is calling this one of the biggest surprises of the night, Massachusetts, which is again the law of diminishing and then reinflating expectations.  To Clinton campaign headquarters in New York City, NBC’s Kevin Corke is there.  Kevin, good evening again.

KEVIN CORKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK:  Spot on analysis, Keith, you’re right.  They wanted to dial it down just a bit and say, hey, look, we’re not going to play this up big, but you’re right.  They had every expectation of feeling very well in Massachusetts despite the endorsement of the Kennedy family for Barack Obama, only Senator Kennedy for Barack Obama, and they’re very, very pleased about that tonight.  They’re also encouraged by something they’re watching right now out of Missouri.  They’ve been saying to me all evening long, look, you’re going to have to at least perform well in some of the places where you might expect large cities to influence this particular race.  In the state of Missouri right now, Senator Clinton is doing very, very well.  They’re pointing to that and some other performances, as you pointed out tonight, they’re feeling very good.  Look, they recognize it will not be a decisive winner this evening, but this will go a long way toward determining which candidate has the momentum moving forward.  Right now, it is early in the evening, granted, but Clinton staffers feel pretty good, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Kevin Corke at Clinton headquarters.  That was not a fog horn behind Kevin.  That was the band beginning to chime in.  Now, let’s go out to Chicago.  David Shuster following the Obama campaign there.  David, good evening again to you.

DAVID SHUSTER, MNSBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:   Keith, good evening to you.  They are of course watching the delegate count, but clearly, the Obama campaign wants to win the popular vote in one of the states that they considered Clinton territory, for no other reason in the hopes to sort of energize those supporters here and others across the country.  So, you’re talking about California, Massachusetts, some disappointment there.  They would love a victory in Missouri.  They would love something in New Jersey or Connecticut.  But Keith, in terms of the big picture, the Obama campaign is ecstatic tonight with the way the delegate count is shaping up because they have felt all along, if they can get a draw tonight, if they can either get within 75 or 100 delegates or even narrower, they can win a war of attrition with the amount of money they’ve been raising.  $32 million in January compared to $13 million for the Clinton campaign.  They are absolutely convinced they can grind Hillary Clinton down and that Obama, if he can spend some time in some of these states and go after three or four states at a time instead of 20, that they believe, is in Obama’s favor.  Keith?

OLBERMANN:  And also the media momentum wars that are being fought right as we speak, David, delegates will do or victories will do.  David Shuster at Obama headquarters, again, thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Let’s go to Republicans now, an MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson, is following developments with John McCain in Phoenix tonight.  I guess they don’t want to hear what I said tonight, Tucker, that in the states that John McCain has been declared the victor tonight by NBC are states Republicans rarely carry in November.

CARLSON TUCKER, MSNBC NEWS:  That’s right.  There’s no way around that.  He’s run strong in the northeast.  I think that was expected.  I think tonight California will be one of those states that we look at carefully to judge the broader appeal of the McCain campaign.  I think the evolving story of the night, though, is Mike Huckabee, who has been really the human firewall for the McCain campaign, keeping Mitt Romney at bay.  At this point, Mike Huckabee, at this stage right now, has more delegates than Mitt Romney.  We can foresee an outcome tonight where he wins five states or more maybe.  How does that change the relationship between McCain and Huckabee, who have in some way informally been working as a tag team, holding off Mitt Romney?  If Mike Huckabee were to become a force, perhaps not the guy who’s destined to become the nominee, but a force in his own right, what does that mean for John McCain?  I think that’s the development that McCain people are watching at this moment as we wait for California polls to close.

MATTHEWS:  What happens if Mitt Romney doesn’t do too much tonight at all?  Is California enough to keep him full throttle in this campaign?

CARLSON:  Well, as the McCain people point out again and again, because they deeply resent the fact he is self-financing this campaign to some extent, he can go on forever because he’s rich.  He’s also a successful businessman who’s obviously been pretty good at judging, you know, risk and reward.  And so I think, you know, if he’s seen as really failing tonight, it’s over for Mitt Romney.  But California, again, as I said earlier, is the state that McCain would like to win.  They believe that would put this away, that he would be the nominee tomorrow morning, in effect, were he to really do well in California.  But they seem skittish about it.  At least on the plane out here, they’re saying there is some erosion in their numbers in the state of California.  So, that’s really what I think people here are watching.

MATTHEWS:  I love the way he said Romney is rich.  I just love that. 

Anyway, thank you.

CARLSON:  And they resent it too.

MATTHEWS:  Well to do is the phrase I thought you were supposed to use.

CARLSON:  No.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Tucker Carlson.  For a view from the Romney campaign, we turn to NBC’s John Yang, he’s up in Boston.  John?

JOHN YANG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, BOSTON:  Chris, they’re trying to put the best face on what’s going on here tonight.  The Romney folks are saying that this all points at the results so far, the trend so far show that John McCain is underperforming, but the other side of that, of course, is that the— there are a lot of conservatives voting against John McCain, but they’re also voting against Mitt Romney.  They’re voting for Mike Huckabee.  And so that is going to be a dilemma for this campaign as they try to harness the conservative disaffection with John McCain, but at the same time, competing for that vote with Mike Huckabee.  And as to Tucker’s point about Romney being rich, at this moment he’s next door at the Westin Hotel raising more money.  So, this campaign looks—is still looking forward.  They feel that the terrain gets more favorable to them after February 5th, after today, but they still haven’t gotten through today yet.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, John Yang.  We’re joined right now by NBC’s Tom Brokaw for more on the fight between Romney and McCain.  Tom, it really looks like a regional breakout where—I know it’s cruel to say it, but John McCain seems to win in primaries where Republicans can’t win generals and doesn’t win where they generally win generals, which is in the south.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS:  And the map now is moving west, which is a critical test not only for John McCain, because he has to—he should be able to pick up one of those states if he wants to continue as a front-runner, but it’s also important for Mitt Romney because we’re going to be going into his home territory of Utah.  You can call that because he’s an important member of the faith, the Mormon faith there, and he’s the man who saved the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  But we also have Colorado coming up and, of course, California.  I think the issue with Romney is one of the wags in the Republican Party said to me that he reminds him of those men who appear in pharmaceutical commercials with a doctor’s coat on.  I’m not really a conservative, but I play one on the campaign trail.  And he’s gotten a lot of help from the talk show circuit, as you know, and they may have overplayed their hand a little bit.  I was looking at Rush Limbaugh’s Web site today, and he has a picture of John McCain surrounded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani, and the caption says, “It’s pretty plain that John McCain likes to surround himself with liberals.” now, I don’t think either Rudy Giuliani or Arnold Schwarzenegger will be invited to be a groomsmen at the Jane Fonda wedding.  I don’t think they’re going to fit into that category.  So, you know, we’ve seldom seen the Republican Party, as I’ve been saying this evening, in such disarray, if you will, in terms of trying to settle on who they want as their candidate, and this will go on.

MATTHEW:  Doesn’t it seem like they even disagree on mission now?  I mean, almost any politician, as you know, as you cover them, want to win as sort of a basic necessity of political life.  But these talk show people like Rush Limbaugh, it seems to me, Tom, what do you think, they may enjoy being in opposition rather than in defense of a government?

BROKAW:  Well, and it gives them a good deal to talk about.  Look, Rush Limbaugh is an American original.  He’s been an important voice for the conservatives in this country.  But at the same time, and this will come as a surprise to Rush, I know, I have a lot of conservative friends that I’ve grown up with over the years.  Any number of them have called me in the course of the last six months or so and said, the system is broken.  It’s time for a change.  We’ve got to do something different.  These are business people, and they’re cultural conservatives as well, and they’re looking for something to break what they think is a kind of gridlock that exists in Washington in which people are worrying about issues that are on the margins of their real concerns.  Chris, today the stock market took its biggest single drop in two years.  That’s on the minds of these voters tonight however they voted today, and it will be on their minds again tomorrow morning.

MATTHEWS:  Well, people are breaking from their traces, aren’t they? 

Thank you, Tom Brokaw.  Keith?

OLBERMANN:  We continue to await results in key races.  We’ve got the closings coming up at 10:00 o’clock, in addition to calls on earlier race from 8:00 and 9:00.  You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  NBC News projects John McCain has won the Republican primary in the state of New York.  A big 9:00 o’clock finish, the Republicans in New York, projected for John McCain.  With the actual vote count still less than 1 percent and not meaning extraordinary amounts of information for you there but the projection is, based on the exit polls and those key precincts that this will be McCain’s victory and other one tonight, when the evening is over.  Let’s go now to NBC News political director, Chuck Todd on where the delegate race stands with this one, Chuck?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, obviously, we got on the Democratic side, this has been where there’s been a lot of mathematics and we’re doing a lot of it working with the different campaigns but first, I want to be able to tell you what the magic sort of number is for the night, on the big, when you know who’s won the majority of the delegates for the night and that majority would 840 delegates total out of 1,671, where 840th would be one of them the majority number.

OLBERMANN:  Chuck, we have another call to make in New Jersey for the Democrats.  This is one of the ones that has been poured over.  It is Hillary Clinton in New Jersey.  The tri-state trifecta for Senator Clinton with now well over a quarter of the vote in and a sizable lead over Senator Obama and that is now projected by NBC News, New Jersey to Hillary Clinton.  We wanted to get you in there Chuck and interrupt you before you got to far in the math which we now rejoin already in progress.

TODD:  Fair enough, as we were talking about that, we got what the big number is for the night and people should follow when it comes to who won the majority of the delegates for he night, 1,678 are up on the Democrats, meaning 840 would be the majority number.  And already the Obama folks feel like they’re performing ahead of pace, just looking at two states individually, and that is Illinois and Georgia.  They got over 170 delegates out of those two states, which is 20 more than they expected.  So far, the only two states the Clinton folks feel like they’ve overperformed in are in Arkansas and Massachusetts.  What’s interesting about what we’re seeing with the Clinton delegate totals is, when you look at a place like Tennessee, she won it very handily, but instead she’s only going to get a 38-30 split.  In fact, in doing the math in New York and New Jersey, since they’re just called, frankly all the boiler rooms, including what we’re trying to do, it’s a little too early to figure out the Congressional delegate splits, but in the states that we’ve been able to do that, and that’s about eight, including Illinois, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Alabama, and Delaware, and among those states, we had 315 delegates estimation between what we’ve done with the Clinton and Obama folks and our own numbers to 228 for Clinton.  Again, we still have a lot more delegates to count in New York that doesn’t include New York, that doesn’t include Connecticut, and that doesn’t include New Jersey.  But the numbers are starting to come in, and the Obama people feel pretty good.

OLBERMANN:  Chuck Todd at the map, great thanks.  Let me correct something I might have implied there and didn’t mean to in the tri-state trifecta.  The tri-state trifecta isn’t over.  We haven’t declared Connecticut yet.  New York and New Jersey went to Hillary Clinton.  Also of note from 8:00 o’clock, Massachusetts went to Hillary Clinton, but we do not have a call in between.  It’s too close to call in don Connecticut.  So we’ve got that housekeeping done, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  But on the Republican side, it looks like John McCain has become the Amtrak candidate for president, having swept right down the coast from New York.  The metro liner candidate, better said.  The metro liner candidate, John McCain, has won in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, all the way down the line there and also Connecticut, if you go a little further north.  Anyway, “Newsweek’s” Howard Fineman is in our campaign listening post in Washington tonight.  How the Clinton campaign did beat Teddy Kennedy in his home ground.  How did they do it, Howard?

HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK:  Well, they did it with the Beacon Hill boys, Chris, you know, with the Massachusetts legislature and the local politicians.  While the big national names, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry couldn’t deliver in their own state.

MATTHEWS:  Who is more is more important than Ted Kennedy.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN:  All those wise guys you know, Steve Lynch and the congressmen, you know them all, those are the people who won it.  And what’s fascinating to me in talking on the phone and e-mailing back and forth to Democrats around the country and Massachusetts and elsewhere, is that you know, last week we were all talking what a great piece of theater it was that Ted Kennedy came out and endorsed Barack Obama, that electrifying event at American University, but I think it may be possible, looking back on this, that Teddy’s endorsement wasn’t much help to Obama, for the reason you were talking about earlier, Chris which is  that people want to break out of old think.  They want to break out of the old molds.  As valued as Kennedys are in the Democratic Party, they’re an old mold too, and I don’t think necessarily helped Obama.  Now, specifically, when Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama, they asked Kennedy to see if he could reel in Bill Richardson, who we had on in the last hour.  Bill Richardson stayed unreeled in.  Teddy called him repeatedly, I’m told, and Richardson said, unh-unh, I’m going to go watch the Super Bowl with Bill Clinton.  He’s staying neutral and Teddy didn’t deliver.  John Kerry didn’t deliver in their home state.  So, I think that one of the ironic results of tonight could be that, while the Kennedys are respected by the Democrats, the Kennedys don’t have quite as much pull either on the inside game or the outside game as all the punditocracy, who were reared on the Kennedys, thought they do.

OLBERMANN:  But Howard, if that’s not the conventional wisdom, let me be the contrary and go against the latest conventional wisdom.  I’ll throw out the Obama talking point.

MATTHEWS:  Can I go against everything Howard just said?

OLBERMANN:  No, just wait a second.  Go against what I say, and you can be the contrarian’s contrarian.  All right.  The Alabama Democratic projection is in before any of this contrarian or anything else.  The Alabama Democratic projection is in, and Barack Obama is projected as the winner in Alabama, in the Democratic primary there, which closed at 8:00 o’clock and was too early to call until this point.  Now, we have almost a quarter of the vote in and a sizable lead, nearly doubling that of Hillary Clinton in the actual vote count.  Back to Howard Fineman.  The point from the Obama campaign was Kennedy was as much use to them in terms of nationally reeling in Latino voters.  That’s their point, not mine.  Here’s one of is interest.  Before the last poll conducted before that Kennedy endorsement in Massachusetts, Obama was polling at about 22 percent.  If he does any better in Massachusetts than 22 percent, has not—could you not turn around and say, yes, it actually did have an impact positively in Massachusetts, there just wasn’t enough time?

FINEMAN:  Well, there’s never enough time.  I think when you have the

governor of the state—this is also a repudiation of Deval Patrick, the

governor.  Usually governors have pretty strong machines.  The governor of the

state was beaten by the legislature and the local guys.  So, I think that

triumvirate just didn’t deliver.  And if you look at the Hispanic votes, while

it’s true that Obama has made some inroads there, my understanding from talking

to some experts in this, is that Ted Kennedy and the Kennedys were very helpful

with American born Latinos who watch English language television and who

watched all the coverage of the various Kennedys endorsing Obama.  Meanwhile on

Spanish language television, Hillary was getting very good coverage.  And while

there may be an age difference, there’s also a language difference, and perhaps

paradoxically, my understanding is the immigrants, the ones who still speak

Spanish, were sticking with Hillary.  And if you look across the board tonight,

Keith, it’s the Latino community is the only one of the demographic groups that

has really, really stuck with Hillary Clinton.  Two to one margins in most

states in the west.  Not quite that much in New Jersey and elsewhere.  But

enough to allow Hillary to be fighting Obama to a standstill tonight, and I

don’t think the Kennedys helped all that much.  That’s my sense of it

MATTHEWS:  Well, let’s wait until we hear the returns from California tonight to decide how far the reach from the Kennedys is.  I think we’re going to have to see what impact Maria Shriver had and Caroline Kennedy had out there when they appeared this weekend with Oprah and of course with Michelle Obama.  By the way, I think when we get to the elections next week in the Virginia/Maryland area, D.C. area, I think you’re going to see a big impact of Ted Kennedy’s performance at American University.  So, Howard, be a little careful there before you undercut the reach and power of Teddy Kennedy.

FINEMAN:  I’m just here in the listening post.

MATTHEWS:  I know.  We have to be critical.

FINEMAN:  I’m just listening.  That’s what people are saying, not me.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you for listening.

MATTHEWS:  I’m just kidding.  I think it’s great you’re that tough and cutting when it comes to the Kennedys.  Howard, thank you very much.  When we return, Joe Scarborough and our panel, plus much more from our exit poll.  Later, DNC chairman Howard Dean is coming back, the former governor of Vermont, the former—well, he was the front-runner last time around.  You’re watching MSNBC live coverage of Super duper Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday. 

Let’s look at the latest results right now.  Here they come.

In New Jersey, Hillary Clinton has won, according to our projections.  Hillary Clinton the winner in New Jersey there.  A very tough battle for a very important win for Hillary Clinton, who’s just carried New Jersey.  In New York, her home state, no surprise there.  Hillary Clinton, the winner in New York, the empire state has given it to the home favorite, Hillary Clinton.  In Illinois, that other favorite from the hometown favorite, Barack Obama has won his home state quite handily.  It looks like two to one based upon the early returns.  Barack Obama winning his home state of Illinois.  In the Bay State of Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton has pulled an upset against the Kennedy family, the Kerry people.  A big upset win for her against the establishment.

However, she was favored in the earlier polls.  Let’s look at Georgia right now.  Barack Obama has won a big victory down there, doing very well among white voters as well as African Americans.  The big winner, Barack Obama in Georgia.  Let’s take a look at the Republican victories tonight.  John McCain has won in New York State, the Empire State.  New York goes to John McCain tonight.  And another big state, Illinois, has gone for john McCain.  A victory for John McCain, carrying the Midwestern state of Illinois.  And New Jersey has also gone to John McCain, beginning a pattern of East Coast victories by John McCain.

Let’s take a look at Massachusetts, another victory for John McCain.  He has won just up and down the East Coast.  I’m sorry.  My mistake.  Mitt Romney has held on to the state where he was governor for one term.  Mitt Romney winning that one state on the Northeast corridor.

In Alabama, right now it’s going to Mike Huckabee.  He has done well in the South tonight.  Mike Huckabee surprising expectations, very much a competitor tonight.  Mike Huckabee winning in Alabama.  Also, Mike Huckabee the winner in Arkansas, where he was governor.  Mike Huckabee beginning to win very well in the region of the South where he’s from in the Bible Belt.  Now let’s take a look at too close to call states.  This is Georgia.  A three-way tie developing throughout the evening here among Huckabee, McCain, and Mitt Romney.  A three-way race, too close to call in Georgia.  And now to the panel.  Let’s go right now to Joe Scarborough.  It is an interesting evening in both sides.  It’s hard to say.  There’s clarity there, Joe.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Yeah, Chris.  You know, you’re bringing up a great point here.  So far, no surprises on the Republican side.  Regionally everybody expected this morning that John McCain would do well tonight in the Northeast, in blue states.  Everybody expected Mike Huckabee to do very well in the Southeast.  They expected Mitt Romney to hold Massachusetts.  Everybody except John McCain, who wasted a day or two campaigning there.  The big question is what happens as we go west?  That’s when there will be some clarity on the Republican side.  But thus far on the Democratic side, Gene, some clarity.  These exit polls stunning.  Gender gap.  Hillary only wins among women 51 to 45 percent.  But Barack Obama wins by 11 points among men, 53 to 42 percent.  And when you go race, 80 percent of African Americans for Obama, only 17 for Hillary.  Whites, 51 percent for Hillary, 44 percent for Obama.

And the young voters going overwhelmingly to Barack Obama.  Demographics are breaking down in a way that Barack Obama can expect a big night across the country.

EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, you know, I think the Obama campaign would be happy with those numbers.  On the other hand, you know, Hillary Clinton held New Jersey.  She won Massachusetts.  She’s—you know, she’s holding serve.  And, you know, we’ll have to see.  The numbers we’ve been flashing on the screen, it looks like Obama is ahead in Connecticut, but that can’t be called yet.  And we’re still waiting for the polls to close out West.  So I think it is entirely possible that what we’ll end up with is what both campaigns said we’ll end up with, which is a mixed result at the end of the night, a war of attrition, the ground game going on.

About those demographic figures, there’s one figure that’s very much in Hillary Clinton’s favor, which is Latino voters go 61 percent for Clinton, 38 percent for Obama.  Now, that’s better for Obama than he’s seen in prior—on prior nights, but it’s still a significant gap.

SCARBOROUGH:  It’s still bad right now.  But I go back to two weeks ago, Pat Buchanan, after South Carolina, you were concerned the numbers weren’t adding up for Barack Obama.  He was getting black voters but not white voters.  Things seem to be breaking in his direction right now.  Demographics are coming over to him.  More women, more white voters, Hispanics slowly breaking in his direction.  These are good trend lines.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  They’re tremendous trend lines for him.  The African American vote is now 80-17.

SCARBOROUGH:  You’d think Hillary was a Republican.

BUCHANAN:  That’s Barry Goldwater territory.

SCARBOROUGH:  That is Barry Goldwater territory.

BUCHANAN:  But the white vote’s gone 51-44.  I mean, he’s getting 44 percent of the vote.  And as you say, 61-38, that’s not two to one for Hillary now.  It’s more like six to four.  So three to two.  All those are good, but, look, Hillary’s won Arkansas—what is it?  Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Jersey.  She’s still leading in states, but where Barack Obama, like Georgia and Illinois, where he wins, he’s running up the score on her, and he’s pulling out tremendous numbers of delegates.

SCARBOROUGH:  And it’s a tie.  At the end of the night, if it’s a tie, tie goes to Obama, does it not?  There is such a feeling, Rachel, that the longer this race goes, the more it benefits Obama.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA:  What you end up with tonight, what it looks like now, if we can predict, looks like not a landslide either way, but a very different story to tell about electability for both candidates because of the way the demographic figures are shaping up.

BUCHANAN:  And McCain is not closing the sale.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, he’s not.  And that really is, Chris, that’s the big news.  John McCain certainly not following up on his Florida victory to close the sale tonight.  He’s a regional candidate.  Unfortunately for him, he’s the regional candidate in the bluest of blue states.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  You know, I was just thinking, Joe, he wins on the Atlantic Coast.  The Atlantic Ocean water nearby, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and now tonight, Connecticut, Delaware, except for Illinois, New Jersey, New York, every state that he does well in—except for Illinois, every state he’s done well has Atlantic Ocean water lapping up against it.  That is not a strong appeal for a Republican candidate for president.  Anyway, Joe, thank you.  And thanks to the panel.

Kevin Madden is national press secretary for the Romney campaign.  Now it’s your turn, Kevin.  I’m looking at the regional appeal of John McCain on the East Coast.

KEVIN MADDEN, ROMNEY PRESS SECRETARY:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  I’m looking at the regional appeal of Huckabee in the South.  Where is Romney country?

MADDEN:  Well, I’ve been arguing all day, Chris, that it’s going to be a long night.  I think, as we move across these time zones and we get out to the western states, places like Colorado, places like Montana and California, we’re going to see some—I think we’re going to see some good numbers come in for Governor Romney.  We had a lot of travel out there this week, right after Florida.  We had that great debate in California.  So let’s see where California comes in.  I think tomorrow we’re going to be counting delegates, and we’re going to feel like we’re going to be in a good position to move on through this campaign.

And if anything, there’s a big question mark after John McCain.  This aura of inevitability that was awarded him outside Florida is now gone, and this is a very fluid race.

OLBERMANN:  What, Kevin, is this stridency that’s developed over the subject of the Bob Dole letter and the terminology between your campaign and the McCain campaign in respect to the Huckabee campaign.  Is it—has that been portrayed as fierce, or is it actually fierce?

MADDEN:  No, I think, you know, this is what happens on election days.  Everybody’s looking to kind of drive some sort of message on that, during this 24-hour cycle that we’re caught in now.  I think Governor Romney is very clear what he was talking about was an insider versus outsider Washington message, and that he’s the best candidate right now to lead a very renewed party, a party that can bring a message of bringing change to Washington from the outside, and that John McCain is not going to get away by pushing a message of inevitability like we saw back in 1996.

Everybody knows that Bob Dole is a great man.  He was a great senator.  And he’s someone that everybody respects.  So the McCain campaign clearly overreached on that one.  And it was just—I think it will end after today.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, Kevin, about California.  It’s a long way off perhaps tonight for all of us trying to cover this.  It’s importance for your campaign, if you can.

MADDEN:  I’m sorry, Chris.  Say that again.

MATTHEWS:  The importance of California to Romney’s future in this election process.

MADDEN:  Well, sure.  You know, I think the argument that we made in California is essentially emblematic of what we believe is the important debate that’s going on within the Republican Party, and that is who’s the best candidate to bring together social conservatives, economic conservatives and national security conservatives.  If you look at a lot of those congressional districts out there in state that goes district by district, those are the Republicans who make up the Republican Party’s strength out there.

People who really care about lower taxes.  John McCain has voted against Bush tax cuts.  People who care about strengthening the family.  John McCain has always been somewhat unwilling or unreliable on those issues.  And national security conservatives.  People who think it’s important to have a party of a strong military.  If you’re going to have a strong military, you have to have a strong economy.  And who’s better on economic issues than Governor Romney?  That’s the core of our message, and that’s why we think California is an important state.

MATTHEWS:  Do you have a sense this is Mitt Romney’s last crack at the presidential race?  Do you think he might run again if he loses?

MADDEN:  Well, look, Chris, that is …

MATTHEWS:  Can’t you tell?

MADDEN:  That is the best way Chris Matthews is always trying to get me

MATTHEWS:  Can’t you tell?

MADDEN:  I think right now we’re focused on this race.  We’re focused

to bring …

MATTHEWS:  I know you are, but can you sense whether he’s willing to get right back in this scrum come November 9th and go right back after the presidency if he misses this time?

MADDEN:  Look, we’re going to win this time.  But here’s the important point, to your question.  The candidate who’s the candidate to bring together this party and to rebuild it so that we have a new vision, a conservative vision, a center right coalition for the next 10 years, Chris, is Mitt Romney.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much, Kevin Madden, national spokesman, press secretary in fact for Mitt Romney.

OLBERMANN:  And we’re joined by the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean.  Governor, thanks for your time tonight.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIR:  Thanks for having me on.

OLBERMANN:  The theory that’s being pressed at this point, the early headline writing at this point in the Democratic Party, react to it.  Here’s the one sentence.  Hillary Clinton held serve.

DEAN:  You know, I think it’s much too early to tell who did what.  We don’t have any idea what the delegate count is.  I think there’s been six or 10, maybe 10 states projected.  There’s 21 to come in.  So it’s an early night, and this is not going to be decided tonight.  And this is not going to be decided tonight, this is going to be decided sometime in three or four weeks.  And whoever it is, we’ll be ready to win, I think.  I was interested in hearing Mitt Romney’s press person.  One thing I agree with him is Mitt Romney is the candidate of change because he’s changed his mind on just about everything you can change your mind on.  And we’ll see what happens, whether we run into Mitt or McCain or whatever.  Honestly, it’s just for more years of George Bush.  They’re all in favor of tax cuts for people who don’t need them.

They’ve all forgotten the middle class.  They all supported the president’s veto of children’s health insurance.  They’re all for staying in Iraq, McCain said for 100 years.  This is going to be about whether you want a third term for George W. Bush or you want real change in this country, and that’s Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

OLBERMANN:  And there’s Governor Dean holding serve.  You mentioned Massachusetts.  Can you give us an analysis of that with the projections being that Senator Clinton won there.  The instant analysis of that has been that this suggests the influence of an endorsement by Senator Kennedy, members of the family, even Governor Patrick there in Massachusetts did not significantly impact the outcome of the primary among the Democrats.  Is that your analysis of it?

DEAN:  Well, in my own experience in campaigns is that endorsements bring you attention, but they don’t necessarily sway voters.  Voters make up their own mind, they really do.  Endorsements are really helpful because they give you a national platform, but they don’t sway voters.  Voters are always going to make up their own mind.  If you really want to sway voters, it’s the people they know very well personally.  That has a bigger sway over voters than endorsements.

OLBERMANN:  One more posit, and then I’ll turn you over to the tender mercies of Mr. Matthews.  That Senator Obama at this point in the evening, to be able to stay he is in no worse position in the campaign, his campaign versus Senator Clinton as of—than he was as of this morning, needs to have a major victory outside of the South tonight, needs something in California, needs Connecticut to go his way, needs Missouri.  Do you buy that argument?

DEAN:  No.  What I buy is at the end of this night, which will actually end sometime tomorrow around noon, we’re going to know who got how many delegates.  And I think both candidates have focused intensely on the delegates, and obviously now after the fact they’re going to spin who won what.  It’s how many delegates you have.  You’ve got to get to 2,025, and whoever gets there first is going to be the next president of the United States.

MATTHEWS:  You know, governor, you and I grew up watching a party who’s basically had its base among labor union people, working people, regular people of average income.  And what I was stunned by looking at these exit polls across the country, look at these numbers.  I’m sure you’ll be surprised too. 

The percentage of people who voted in the Connecticut Democratic primary, 57

percent were college graduates, 58 percent in New Jersey, 60 percent in New

York, 61 percent in Massachusetts

It just seems like the Democratic Party voters seem to have gone upscale.  The neighborhood has been gentrified, and the people who are voting are from a very high economic and social echelon.  Is that good news for the Democratic Party that it’s gotten so gentrified?

DEAN:  Obviously, I believe there’s two reasons for those numbers, I think.  One is you’re seeing a large number of independents now vote in the Democratic primary where that’s permitted because they believe you’ve got to have change and you can’t possibly get it with a Republican primary.  The other is this is the Northeast, which has the highest education levels of any place in the country.  So I don’t know what to make of those polls.  I never think it’s a bad thing to have smart people supporting you but I do think the numbers are skewed as, one, they’re from the Northeast, and, two, I think there are significant numbers of independents and Republicans voting in the Democratic primary as well.

MATTHEWS:  So you’re not worried the college crowd, if you will, gown is overwhelming, and the support for Barack such as it exists isn’t the reflection of a skewed electorate?

DEAN:  I think every candidate on both sides has particular niches in the electorate that they appeal to, and whoever the nominee is of our party—and I would say this is true with Republicans as well—is going to have to broaden their own particular base.  And that’s part of my job is to help them do that.

MATTHEWS:  You might have it cut out for you based upon these numbers.  I just wonder where regular people are in this.  The average percentage of this country, unfortunately for the country, doesn’t include that many college graduates.

DEAN:  No, that’s right.  That’s true.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, Keith?

OLBERMANN:  Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.  Thank you kindly for being with us, sir.

DEAN:  Thanks for having me on.

OLBERMANN:  We have an unfortunate confluence of news and politics tonight if you had heard this.  As least four counties in Tennessee had to close polls early tonight because of severe weather, and, in fact, we’re now being advised by Tennessee Emergency Management and the Sheriff’s Department of Fayette County—this is video you’re seeing, home video of an extraordinary storm—we should probably lose that banner to give you a better idea, from Germantown, Tennessee.  There is one fatality in the State of Tennessee in Fayette County, after a tornado hit a Union University dorm has collapsed.  Thirty people trapped at Jackson, Tennessee.  Sixteen people also reported injured there.  Reports from state officials of as many as 50 people trapped at the Jackson Oak Retirement Community.  And a runway at the international airport at Memphis has been closed.

The major headline there, there is one fatality in Tennessee after a severe weather, strong storms, possibly some tornadoes hitting mostly western Tennessee.  But obviously, given the names thrown out just there, throughout the state and one fatality at Fayette County.  And the home video you’re seeing of the damage, extraordinary damage tonight in Germantown, which is affecting a lot more than just the closing of four counties’ polling stations in Tennessee for the Super Tuesday primary.

Up next, we’ll get back to the primary.  To the polling data and the exit polls in particular.  More with our panel.  This is MSNBC’s continuing coverage of Super Tuesday.  More in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  NBC News has projected the Republican winner in the primary in Oklahoma, Senator John McCain.  So to fulfill Chris’ estimation here, here is a state not touched by the Atlantic Ocean, his second of the night.  Sixth overall of the night for McCain with nearly 70% of the vote in.  It would be slim margin right now, slim margin of victory over Mike Huckabee with Mitt Romney placing a strong third under those circumstances.  Again, the Republican primary in Oklahoma is John McCain’s according to the NBC News projection, where the polls had closed nearly two hours ago.  A little bit more on the Republican vote.  Breaking it down with the exit polling and more from Lester Holt.  Lester?

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Pick up right where you were, Keith.  John McCain has picked up major wins in states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  But it’s very close in other states, including some border and southern states.  Part of the reason for that is there’s a big divide in the Republican Party along ideological lines.

This is still a very conservative electorate.  In voting coast to coast, 64 percent identify themselves as conservative, including a third of that number who say they are very conservative.  Twenty-seven percent are moderate, and 10 percent say they are liberal.  As you might expect, John McCain is doing well among moderates and liberals.  He’s getting a majority there, but it’s a different story among conservatives.  With voters who say they are somewhat conservative.  McCain and Romney are very close with McCain at 40 percent and Romney at 36 percent.  Mike Huckabee at 17 percent in this group.

And in that nearly one-third of the GOP that calls themselves very conservative, the vote is breaking for Mitt Romney.  He’s getting nearly 47 percent to 25 percent.  For Huckabee, just 19 percent for John McCain.  So Huckabee is pulling the arch-conservatives in the battle with John McCain to be considered the standard bearer of the party.  All this points, Chris and Keith, to a potentially difficult problem for John McCain if he should prevail.  Conservatives in the GOP may eventually make their peace with them.  From what we’re seeing tonight, those folks are not quite there yet.

OLBERMANN:  Problems in capital letters, Lester.  Lester Holt with the exit polls.  Thank you.  Let’s bring in David Gregory, chief White House correspondent with NBC News.  This construction, I’ve used this before, looks like an M.C. Escher drawing.  The conservatives don’t like the guy who has the conservative credentials but the very conservatives like the guy who didn’t have the conservative credentials.  It’s a real problem as it goes forward for the Republicans, is it not?

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Yeah, it is.  That’s because John McCain is seeing this rebellion on the right and a movement afoot whether that’s in the place of Mitt Romney or the person of Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee being the ones who can stop John McCain.  We talked a lot tonight about Mike Huckabee being a kind of blocker for John McCain against Mitt Romney, but meanwhile Mike Huckabee who is putting together this southern strategy toward the nomination.  We’ll see how Oklahoma goes in terms of the conservative vote for John McCain away from that Amtrak corridor we talked about for McCain on the East Coast.  It’s interesting, if you look in a state like Alabama, how some of the numbers are breaking down according to our exit poll.  John McCain is the preferred choice in terms of who’s most qualified to be commander in chief at 45 percent.  But Mike Huckabee comes in second at 32 percent ahead of Mitt Romney.  So he places well there.  We look at the states that Mike Huckabee has won.  Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, which was a Romney state.  Very competitive in Georgia and Missouri, though in Missouri, he’s having a difficult time in the major population centers.

But a note of caution here, in a state like Alabama, that Mike Huckabee wins, John McCain still likely to take away delegates given the fact he’s not over 50 percent.  Huckabee isn’t in Alabama, and therefore becomes a proportional system.  So John McCain still takes away delegates.  At the end of the night, Mike Huckabee making a real stand here within the party, particularly among conservatives who don’t like John McCain, but how many delegates does he get in this contest?  That’s the big question.

OLBERMANN:  If it’s very conservative as opposed to conservative, how come Romney has not done better than he has statistically?

GREGORY:  That’s right.  And you look at Georgia, for instance, if you combine the somewhat and very conservative, you see it’s a real split between Huckabee and Romney.  Again, that favors John McCain in a tight race in Georgia, where he is splitting, Huckabee is splitting that anti-McCain conservative vote with Romney.

OLBERMANN:  And hence the Romney committee anger at Huckabee as the seeming stocking horse.  David Gregory, White House correspondent and analyzing the republicans and conservatives versus very conservatives.  Thank you, David.  In just a few moments, the polls are going to close in Utah.  We’ll have those results.  Plus we expect to be hearing from some of the candidates in the next hour, hour and a half.  Barack Obama may be at 11:30 Eastern Time.  We’ll continue.  MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday continues after this.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Welcome back to MSNBC’s coverage of Super Tuesday.  It’s 10:00 p.m. on the East Coast, and we have new results.  In Utah, we’re going to have a result there.  Right now on the Republican side, Mitt Romney, no surprise.  Mormon country, the Mormon candidate, not that that’s the only thing that matters out there, but a powerful influence in Utah.  The home man, the man who saved the Olympics last time, Mitt Romney has carried Utah. 

In New York, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, a state she has represented in the Senate now for six years, Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination fight in New York.  In Illinois, Barack Obama has won in his home state, where he has been the United States senator.  And, of course, in new jersey, Hillary Clinton has won a very important battle, a powerful win for her in New Jersey. 

In Massachusetts, she has upset the establishment of the Kennedys and John Kerry and has won there.  Let’s go to Georgia right now.  That’s a big victory for Barack Obama in Georgia, an overwhelming victory.  In Tennessee, another victory for Hillary Clinton in Tennessee.  A big one for her down there.  Hillary Clinton, the winner in Tennessee on the Democratic side. 

In Missouri, too close to call on the Democratic side.  Can’t call that one yet, 41,000 votes separating them, too close to call.  In Connecticut right now, too close to call.  A big one to watch there.  As the evening continues.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama locked in a close race in Connecticut. 

In the Republican side in New York, John McCain winning one of many East Coast states tonight.  New York, the Empire State, goes to John McCain.  In Illinois, a big victory for John McCain as well in another industrial state.  John McCain carries Illinois.  In New Jersey, John McCain is the winner there.  Another substantial victory for McCain on the Eastern Seaboard.  He has been winning right down the East Coast from New Hampshire all the way south to Florida, including tonight. 

Connecticut, another victory for John McCain.  John McCain doing very well on the East Coast.  Connecticut, now he has won everywhere on the East Coast.  Now Oklahoma right now, there he is, a victory for John McCain.  This is a big one for him down in the South.  John McCain wins outside the region where he has done so well. 

Let’s go right now to Massachusetts.  Mitt Romney has won the state where he was governor for a term, an important victory for him, where John McCain tried to humiliate him in the last couple of days.  In Alabama, here is where Mike Huckabee is picking up strength in the South, in the Bible Belt, Mike Huckabee winning. 

And here he comes again, winning in Arkansas, in a state where he was governor for several terms.  Mike Huckabee in Alabama, Arkansas, and here he comes again, too close to call.  Already there we have a three-way race throughout the night among Huckabee, McCain, and Mitt Romney too close to call. 

Also, too close to call in Missouri, interesting battles on the Republican side.  So interesting.  Regional favorites.  Huckabee in the South, John McCain in the Northeast.  No clear pattern beyond. 

Now let’s take a look at the north.  Here is a new victor tonight.  In North Dakota, Barack Obama has won in North Dakota where the polls closed at 9:00 East Coast time.  Now we have some caucus results in North Dakota—that was a caucus victory.  It looks like a strong victory there for Barack Obama.  He is expected to do well, by the way, in all of the caucus states tonight. 

That’s a big victory for Barack Obama in that caucus state of North Dakota. 

So we see a very interesting pattern tonight, Keith.  We see Hillary Clinton holding on to Massachusetts, despite the Kennedy effort.  We see her winning in a very toughly contested New Jersey.  It’s fascinating tonight.  She has also won in some states that aren’t in the Northeast corridor.  She has won out there, look at this, in Tennessee, in Oklahoma, in Arkansas, her home state in the old days, and of course, in New York and Massachusetts. 

She has had a pretty good night, although it looks very unclear as to who can claim victory between her and Barack Obama tonight. 

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Well, the answer to that, of course, is they both will with different sets of statistics. 

MATTHEWS:  Right.  And different spins and different claims of what is to come later in fact. 

OLBERMANN:  And trajectories and all the rest of that.  To come later on the Republican side, we’re expecting to hear from Governor Mitt Romney in just a moment.  And as we wait for that, let’s go up to Romney headquarters in Boston.  NBC’s John Yang at the headquarters. 

John, good evening.

JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Keith.  The governor is actually next door at a hotel raising money to give some idea that he is looking forward to campaign moving on after this.  You know, you talk about the regional favorites or the regional winds of today.  John McCain on the East Coast, Mike Huckabee in the South, the campaign here—the Romney campaign says that Romney country is going to be in the West, states like Montana, North Dakota, and their big hopes are on California. 

They feel that they have a shot there.  And of course, California where those delegates are apportioned by congressional districts.  Winner take all by congressional districts that will have to be results that may come several days—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  John Yang at Romney headquarters.  As we stand by for the candidate to speak, we have a projection on the Democratic side.  The Utah Primary has gone to Barack Obama.  So the early returns from the great West showing now in Utah and in North Dakota for Senator Obama so far.  The actual vote count is surprisingly low, zero percent, it looks like 24 votes cast. 

MATTHEWS:  Six states apiece so far for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton tonight.  A close fight on the state count tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  As we revert back to what we were looking at—well, there’s the Democratic map as it is so far throughout the primary season.  That’s not just tonight.  Lots still in play tonight.  Obviously the big ones still to come.  And we were in the middle of discussing Republican events.  We’re expecting to hear, as we said, from Mitt Romney at some point in this quarter hour. 

And then, Mike Huckabee, following developments at John McCain headquarters in Phoenix for us tonight, has been MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson. 

Tucker, good evening. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “TUCKER”:  Good evening, Keith.  So the McCain campaign, I think, still firmly believes they are best-positioned to get the nomination.  Clearly a lot of leaders of the party agree with that.  But tonight is not unfolding.  And I think at this point, exactly as planned.  Missouri, I think, is a key state to watch where at this moment, Mike Huckabee is ahead of John McCain.  That was not anticipated. 

We’re also waiting for any results at all from the state of Arizona where I’m standing.  Of course, John McCain’s home state.  We don’t have any numbers from Arizona.  It is not exactly clear why.  But the impression at this point is the numbers are just too close, maybe within a couple or 3 or 4 points at this stage, which is not necessarily a great development for the senator who represents the state. 

And of course, California is the night-ender, were it to go for McCain.  But again, they’re not hopeful that will happen. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

OLBERMANN:  Tucker Carlson at McCain headquarters.  Thank you, Tucker. 

MATTHEWS:  And let’s go right now to David Shuster who is following the Obama campaign in Chicago. 

I’ve got—I’m very curious about this, hearing from you, David.  As we’ve been covering this Obama campaign for months now, do they see victory?  Do they see defeat?  What do they see right now at this point in the evening? 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, they see victory.  I mean, they believe that in the delegate count at the end of the night, they’re going to be very close to Hillary Clinton.  And again, they keep talking about wanting to turn this into a war of attrition.  Again, they are out-fundraising Hillary Clinton, $3 for every $1 for Hillary Clinton.  We’ll have more coming up. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  So a big night for them, they believe.  But it is not clear to anyone else yet.  Let’s go back to Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Chris, as you see, Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is about to address his followers at his headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He was at the microphone and then decided to go for a quick victory lap.  There are a few signs, as always, positioned in the middle.  But there’s the former governor and we will let him speak when he chooses to do so.  That’s not apparently—no, here we go. 

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, thank you.  You know, over the past few days, a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two-man race. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Well, you know what?  It is and we’re in it!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Tonight we’re making sure America understands that sometimes one small smooth stone is even more effective than a whole lot of armor. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  And we’ve also seen that the widow’s mite has more effectiveness than all the gold in the world. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Janet and I and our family and team want to begin by saying thanks first of all to the wonderful people of Arkansas where it all started and where tonight, we have a wonderful, wonderful victor here at home. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  We love this state, always have and always will.  And tonight, we’re reminded again why, because of the incredible people who believed in us early and stayed with us through all of the times when so many people said, you can’t get there.  And tonight, we’re proving that we’re still on our feet and much to the amazement of many, we’re getting there, folks.  We’re getting there. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  We have been standing for small business owners who know that government has for way too long had its foot on their neck.  But taxes that were too high, regulations that were too onerous, threat of litigation made it impossible for many small business owners to survive. 

And our party once stood to make sure that we helped clear the way so that the free market system really worked and we’re going to do it again. 

Because one of these days when I get to be president, and it won’t be very

long, about a year from now…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  I really do look forward to nailing the “going out of business” sign on the front door of the IRS. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  And when we have the fair tax, a lot of small business owners and individuals will finally have a fair shot at getting a part of the American dream. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  We’re here tonight and winning states across the South because we’ve stood for the idea that mothers and fathers raise better kids than governments do, and government ought to under gird a family, not undermine a basic family’s rights to raise their own kids.  And that’s one of the reasons we’re here tonight. 

We’re here tonight because people want to know that the president is going to secure our borders and make it so it is not more difficult to get on an airplane in your hometown than it is to cross the international border. 

And then we’re going to fix an issue that the federal government is allowed to go unchallenged for a long, long time.  We’re here tonight because a lot of people in the South and across America know the Second Amendment is to be respected as much as the First Amendment, and they know that there is only one candidate who has a consistent record of making sure we do that. 

And one of the reasons that we’re here tonight is because there is no candidate who has been more consistent and clear about the fact that we should honor the words of our forefathers who said all of us are created equal.  And that means that every single person has intrinsic worth and value. 

And we should uphold the sanctity of human life because it is a cornerstone of our culture of life.  And ladies and gentlemen, tonight I believe that one of the things you’re seeing across this nation is that people are saying, the conservatives do have a choice because the conservatives have a voice. 

And tonight, they’re getting a chance to express that and from here, they’ll get to continue expressing that choice and that voice. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Now, it is tough for this old Razorback to say things

like, “roll Tide roll”…

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE:  … but I’m doing it tonight. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  And it is tough for this old Razorback to look over there to the state just to the east of us and anticipate being able to say that we’re too Volunteers.  I think before the night is over, I’ll even be singing “Rocky Top.” 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  This old Razorback may even catch some Bulldog fever before the night is over. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  And we’re going to forget all about the Cotton Bowl and even be grateful for our friends to the north before tonight is over, I’m fully believing. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  But tonight is far more important than contests between the rivalry of some of our states and athletics.  Starting today with the wonderful people of West Virginia who gave us a surprising, stunning and wonderful victory. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Today has been a day when the people have spoken and today people across this country are saying that, yes, we heard what the pundits said.  But this is our vote, not theirs.  This is our election, not theirs.  This is our presidency, not theirs. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  And for all of those people who have made sacrifices to help us be here, I want to say thank you and I also want you to know that as long as there is still votes and delegates to be won, until that magic number of 1,191, there is going to be one guy answering the bell every time there is a new round. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Sometimes, sometimes elections have a way of tearing us apart, even within our own party.  But the ultimate purpose that we’re all in this is not to see our party divided, and it most certainly is not to see our country divided.  We got in this because we wanted to see our party pull together again. 

But even more than our party, as important as it is, it is far more

that we bring this nation back together where we once again…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Where we realize that our greatest strength is not in the government we elect but it is in the ordinary people who do the choosing.  It still is a land of the people.  And we’re going to continue to prove that.  That even with limited resources but lots of heart, the presidency can belong to the people of this country. 

When I started out as a little kid, believe me, I never thought I would even see a president within eyesight of me physically.  And I’ve often told the story of 8 years old, when my dad said, son, I’m going to take you down to hear a speech by the governor.  He is coming down to our part of the state.  Governors don’t get down here very often. 

And, boy, they did not.  And he said, I want you to go down and hear the speech because he is dedicating a lake, and you need to hear that because, son, you may live your whole life and you may never actually get to see a governor in person. 

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE:  Little did he know that that boy would become the 44th governor of the state of Arkansas and serve this wonderful state for 10 ½ years.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  And I’m pretty sure that he could have never, ever even dreamed that one day I would be standing here tonight and I would be saying, folks, in a few more months, you’ll help me become the 44th president of the United States of America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Thank you.  God bless you.  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Governor Huckabee completing his speech at Little Rock after a night which saw him win the primaries in Arkansas and West Virginia.  He is in a too close to call in Georgia and a too early to call in Tennessee. 

So the governor is 2-0-2 in addressing his faithful in Arkansas tonight. 

As we continue with our coverage of Super Tuesday, let’s call—before we get to Tom Brokaw, let’s call Kansas and the Democrats.  The Jayhawk State is ready for us?  Kansas goes to Barack Obama.  In a projection by NBC News, from—it took about an hour and 15 minutes to analyze the exit polls and the key precinct data.  There are the hard numbers, two-thirds nearly in.  And a significant victory there with almost no chance of being reversed with those numbers, at nearly two-thirds of the vote counted. 

So Kansas, Democrat, paced into the Obama camp in the caucus there in Kansas.  I believe I may have called it a primary, but it was a caucus for Barack Obama.  So a victory, as we begin to move West, we’re seeing more and more outposts for Barack Obama in the battle against Hillary Clinton tonight.  Now to Tom Brokaw and back with the discussion of the Republicans. 

And do we have to call it the Huckabee factor?  Is that what we’re dealing with now? 

TOM BROKAW, FORMER NBC ANCHOR:  Yes.  We should just take a moment though and talk about Kansas, if we can, Keith.  It is one of the homes of Obama, in a matter of speaking.  He was there recently paying a very emotional visit to the hometown of his grandparents where he spent a lot of time.  And he was endorsed by the very popular governor in that state, a red state in presidential elections, Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who was elected by a wide margin last time around.  So that was pretty good Obama territory tonight. 

Now to Governor Huckabee.  As you saw again, as do you almost every time he appears on television, he has one of the great platform styles of any candidate I’ve ever seen.  But it seems to me that Governor Huckabee’s success tonight is one more manifestation that the Republican Party suddenly has developed multiple personalities.  It would be like one of those movies in which you’re trying to figure out, where is the real Republican Party?  Because a different one shows up any time a candidate begins to talk. 

You know, from 1980 in through the election of 2004, that was the party with a very conservative foundation, beginning with Ronald Reagan.  It had a strong and well-disciplined army of foot soldiers with strategists such as Karl Rove directing them in lockstep.  That has come apart to some degree during this election.  And the real issue is which of these candidates will emerge with the Republican Party nomination?

Because none of them is what you would call ideologically pure by the old standards of the Republican Party.  They all have, if you will, parts of their platform and parts of their personality that have been called into question.  Even Mike Huckabee was challenged early on in Iowa, for example, because he raised taxes as the governor of Arkansas and because he also wanted to have what he called a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. 

He changed his mind about that and made some reference tonight to building a wall as well.  He does have other issues.  He has talked about the word of God and the Bible being more important than the Constitution.  And he is a creationist.  And that is—it’s hard to see, as Pat Buchanan was saying earlier, how he takes that to the Northeast in the general election or to other parts of the country, for that matter. 

OLBERMANN:  We have seen, obviously historically, even when there were not three faces of Eve but two, the Republican Party without the strong hand can rip itself apart, 1964 is the most obvious example, and go down in crushing defeat in the general election. 

What is the route back if there are, in fact, three splitting elements of a trident now going off in different directions? 

BROKAW:  Boy, that’s a hard one to see.  Obviously I think it will depend on what happens at the convention, who gets the nomination, who they pick as their running mate and how they address the fissures within the party and get the many constituencies within the party to say what’s more important, that we keep our hold on the White House and keep our hold on political power. 

But so many of these people are theological as much as they are political in their ideological beliefs that it is hard for them to, I suppose, just fall in behind whichever candidate wins this time. 

It reminds me very much of what happened to the Democrats in 1968.  I’ve talked to a lot of them recently and when they left Chicago, and Hubert Humphrey was the nominee, they couldn’t abide that fact.  So they didn’t support him when the fall came and Richard Nixon won.  And now they say to themselves, what was I thinking at the time? 

OLBERMANN:  Well, and to that point, is it—could it almost be a shotgun marriage here?  Because if the McCain people are accused of using the Romney people as the stalking horse—or the phrases that have been used—excuse me, now I’m getting confused by these three names. 

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  The Huckabee people are in cahoots with the McCain people, Huckabee is McCain’s sidekick.  This is all in the terminology used by the Romney campaign just tonight, even before we’re getting results.  Could you not—if it isn’t there already, could you not force those two-thirds of this three-part party together? 

BROKAW:  Well, I think that that could happen.  And in politics we often—you know, the cliche obviously, politics does make strange bedfellows.  We’ve had examples of that in the past.  It was not a natural marriage between George Bush 41 and Ronald Reagan. 

Going back to 1960, when John F. Kennedy selected Lyndon Johnson as his running mate, Bobby Kennedy went down and tried to talk Lyndon Johnson out of accepting it after he had already accepted it. 

So I think there is the possibility that that may happen out of the necessity of trying to put together a winning coalition for the fall. 

OLBERMANN:  NBC’s Tom Brokaw, as always, a pleasure, sir.  We’ll check back with you later on. 

BROKAW:  OK.

OLBERMANN:  Thanks, Tom.

MATTHEWS:  Terry McAuliffe is the Clinton campaign chairman.  Of course, Hillary Clinton has won six states so far tonight. 

Terry, congratulations, I think.  But aren’t there three big states left tonight, Missouri, Connecticut and California, that no one is sort of claiming yet? 

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN:  No, we’ve got a ways to go

on that, Chris.  But tonight was a great night.  Obviously the big prize for us personally, I think, was Massachusetts, you had the governor, both senators, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry coming out actively campaigning.  Senator Obama was there yesterday. 

And for Hillary to have that win, Chris, that was a big deal.  Add that to New Jersey and Tennessee and Oklahoma and Arkansas, it is a great night for Hillary Clinton.  Her message is working no matter what part of the region of the country we’re dealing with. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I think New Jersey was a big win for you.  Let me ask you about California tonight, as we look forward to those returns coming in late tonight.  California looked to be, and you and I know this, as Bill Clinton country for years now.  They love them out there, they love the Clintons out there.  Is it significant that you’ve had to battle for California?  That Hillary Clinton, the senator, has had to go out there all of these days and really deal with playing defense against Barack?

MCAULIFFE:  Yes, I think, Chris, she would even agree.  If you look at the press coverage over the last two weeks, obviously with all of the Kennedy endorsements and all of that, and how the punditry has been dealing with it, this was a battle that Hillary had in California.  The polls obviously closed.  But if what we see in the exit polls comes true, it could be a very good night for Hillary in California. 

Her message is working.  But, Chris, you always knew this was going to be a tight election.  For us to win the states we’ve won tonight, and now we head to the West, very important states to play, Hillary Clinton’s message of delivering on health care, delivering on jobs, and dealing with the whole home mortgage issue is a message that works. 

She could be commander-in-chief tomorrow.  And that’s what happens.  Clearly you, Chris, and everybody talked about all of the momentum for Senator Obama.  Well, tonight Hillary Clinton showed that she has got the message and she has got momentum herself. 

MATTHEWS:  Where do you see that in the polling going the last couple of weeks?  Where do you see—it seems to me, I’m looking at the national numbers.  Maybe they’re irrelevant, but, Terry, you’ve looked at the national numbers, they show a closing, very close now between the two candidates where they were very far apart.  How do you say that momentum is with Senator Clinton? 

MCAULIFFE:  Well, I think after we finish up tonight, I think everybody will say that Hillary Clinton proved that she can win anywhere in the country no matter what region of the country she played in, will work very well for the general election, her message.

And listen, this is a tough primary battle, Chris.  We knew this going in would be a tough primary battle.  But I think when people went into those polling booths today, they made the decision, who could be commander-in-chief?  Who could get us universal health coverage?  She is the only candidate on both sides who is for universal coverage.  That’s the message that is working. 

And I think you see women coming out in record numbers today.  We’ve

done very well with the Latino vote.  And I think as we move forward, I think

everybody will step back now, that has absolutely been pandemonium, Chris.  You

and others are going to have to take a second look at this and say, you know

what…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You’re so tough, Terry.  Let me—as you whip me, as you whip me with that flackery.  But let me ask you this question—and it is flackery.  Let me ask you about fundraising, an area close to your heart.  Can you catch up to the fundraising potential and the experience and the performance so far of the Barack Obama campaign?  Can you match Barack dollar for dollar from here on out in the primary fights?  Can you do that, Terry? 

MCAULIFFE:  Well, as you know, Chris, you can see it.  It is very loud in here.  But on fundraising, as you know, we raised more than Senator Obama’s campaign did in 2007.  We won the third quarter, we won the fourth quarter.  He had a very good January.  We’re going to have a very good February. 

Hillary Clinton has never gone for want of the resources.  She will have the resources.  And after tonight, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to say, you know what?  This woman is for real.  I want to get on her bandwagon.  They have thrown the kitchen sink, including Chris Matthews, has thrown the house at this woman, and she has proven that she can... 

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE:  … a lot of excitement coming out of here.

MATTHEWS:  You are a fighter, Terry, I appreciate that flackery on behalf of the Clintons.  But good work tonight.  And let me tell you this, I had the money-raising is going to be a hot issue for everybody.  Let’s go right now.

MCAULIFFE:  Sure, let’s go.  Thank you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thanks, Terry.

OLBERMANN:  Terry will not like this.  We’re calling Connecticut for Senator Obama.  The NBC News projection, after two-and-a-half hours of deep and thorough analysis, is that Barack Obama, the senator of Illinois, will win in Connecticut.  So that tri-state trifecta did not take place.  One of the contested, perhaps unexpectedly contested states going into Senator Obama’s column. 

And somewhat, I suppose—Terry McAuliffe still being with us, would you say that that somewhat blunts this momentum that you just described?  Terry, can you still hear us? 

MCAULIFFE:  What is that?  If you could talk louder, it is so loud in this room. 

OLBERMANN:  We’re projecting Connecticut for Obama.  Does that to any degree blunt the momentum that you just described to Chris Matthews? 

MCAULIFFE:  No.  I’ll go back to my—New Jersey, they put a lot of resources in there.  Massachusetts, both senators, the governor, Senator Obama there yesterday.  Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New York, and now we head West.  This is a big night of momentum for Hillary Clinton.  I didn’t say we would win them all.  You are going to win some, you are going to lose some, but tonight clearly the momentum is on Hillary’s side. 

OLBERMANN:  Terry McAuliffe, we thank you twice. 

MCAULIFFE:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Good night, Terry.  Thanks, buddy.

MCAULIFFE:  Good night, Chris.  Get some rest.

MATTHEWS:  A good night for you, Terry, especially you personally. 

MCAULIFFE:  Pump up Hillary tomorrow, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  For you, anything.

MCAULIFFE:   I want to hear you say you love Hillary tomorrow. 

MATTHEWS:  Anything for you, Terry.  I wish I had you on my side in life.  You’re the best. 

MCAULIFFE:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Chris has got a campaign manager out here now too. 

MATTHEWS:  In life, I said.

OLBERMANN:  A life manager. 

MATTHEWS:  A life manager. 

OLBERMANN:  I think I would rather have a campaign manager. 

MATTHEWS:  He is the greatest gung-ho guy I’ve met in politics of his generation.  He’s the most gung-ho can’t lose guy.  Who wouldn’t want him around? 

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Well, let’s find out some of the numbers inside the Democratic vote tonight.  Lester Holt has more from out exit polling and that breakdown of what the Democrats voted for and why—Lester. 

LESTER HOLT, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  All right.  Fellas, a veritable lovefest in there.  Anyway, let’s talk about some of the numbers.  You have got more races to call.  But we’ve already had some questions answered tonight about the Democratic candidates and we’re going to show you how the votes played out.  One of the major questions going to these contests was would Obama do well enough among white voters?  The answer was yes. 

He needed to do better than 40 percent.  He did that. in fact, getting 43 percent of the white vote to Clinton’s 51  percent.  He did better among whites than in earlier contests in fact. 

For Clinton, the question was, could she hang on to her strong Hispanic base of support in the face of Obama’s late surge out in California?  The answer appears to be yes.  When you look nationally, she outdistances Obama among Hispanic voters 61 percent to 37 percent. 

And while we know the economy was the single biggest issue across party lines, we also know perceptions played a huge role. 

Among Democrats, the most important quality that Democratic primary voters wanted was change.  52 percent said this was the key quality in the candidates they would choose.  And there, Barack Obama took an overwhelming percent anger of the vote. 

But on the measure of who would make the best commander in chief, not a small question in a time of war, it is Hillary Clinton who wins on that count, with 49 percent of the vote.  The same Hillary used to have to defend her vote in favor of the war.  Keep in mind, Chris, that may put to rest some of the nagging questions about whether Clinton and Obama would have suggest appeal among key groups on key issues tonight. 

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Lester.  Lester Holt with the exit polling.  And the number that will resonant there.

MATTHEWS:  A stunning night.  So fascinating.  You look at this so far.  Hillary Clinton has carried these six states.  She was basically expected to carry the six.  Obama has carried seven.  He has picked up two toss-up states as we look at it ahead of time.  Especially Chuck Todd did.  Here’s Governor Romney, by the way.  In the Democrat side, who will win California?  What a fascinating question. 

OLBERMANN:  The suggestion being all along that that is what we would be coming here to see.  It will be an important issue for that gentleman there in the center, as far as another governor in the picture.  Isn’t that Governor Weld there, on the right? 

MATTHEWS:  It is.  That’s right.  Back in Massachusetts whence he came. 

OLBERMANN:  Mitt Romney accepting the accolades of his supporters, after his triumphs tonight, most particularly Massachusetts and Utah, two places where it would have been very bad news had he not prevailed.  As this tri-cornered race goes, I believe the governor is trying to sift through the noise that I’m contributing to.  Here’s Governor Romney. 

MITT ROMNEY, ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.  Thank you.  What an honor to have our friends here tonight.  This touches our hearts.  It is so extraordinarily powerful to come here and see so many friends.  To see, behind me here, almost the entire Massachusetts Republican state legislature.  (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

To have Governor Weld here and Kerry Healey, my lieutenant governor.  So many friends.  You know, and of course, my family, my sons and daughters here.  Daughters-in-law but also at the far end, my brother-in-law.  Don’t ask me if he is younger than me.  He is older than me.  My brother Scott has been campaigning all over country for me.

And I appreciate your being here tonight, on a very special. 

Ann came to me and she said the one thing that’s clear is that nothing is clear.  But I think she is wrong.  One thing that is clear is that this campaign is going on.  (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I think there are some people who thought it was all going to be done tonight.  It is not all done tonight.  We’ll keep on battling.  We’ll go all the way to the convention and we’ll go to the White House. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

Now, I don’t know.  At this stage, it is hard to tell how many delegates we’ll get because a lot of states we haven’t heard from, the western states.  We know it will be close and interesting in states like Colorado and Montana and California and all over the west.  That and so we’ll see what kind of numbers come in.  We’ll add those numbers up and have them bright and early in the morning.  My guess is that at my home, we’ll be staying up a little later than most of you will. 

There was a special feeling in my heart when I realized the three places Ann and I have lived have all voted, Michigan, Massachusetts and Utah.  (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)  And we expect a lot more delegates coming from a lot of other states as well. 

This is fun and exciting to be part of an election scene like this, to have you all cheering us on.  It is so remarkable to know how many doors you’ve knocked down, how many calls you’ve made.  You know why we’re doing it.  We’re all doing it for the same reason.  We care very deeply about, in my case, these folks up here.  In your case, the folks at your home, your kids. 

For me, I’m very concerned about the kind of America they’re going to inherit.  I want to make sure that the kind of prosperity we’ve known, the peace that we’ve always experienced, the safety that we’ve always felt that is part of my kids’ life and theirs.  And I realize that doesn’t just happen. 

Those that brought this to us paid a very heavy price to buy our peace.  They built a strong military.  It was without question the most capable of in the world.  They ability strong economy that surpassed anybody’s in the world and they gave to us values that are enduring like believing in hard work and education and willing to sacrifice for the future and love of our families and faith and our country.  And because of these great values and our great military, we’ve emerged as the greatest nation on earth.  And now it is our turn. 

We’ve faced extraordinary challenges.  I’m convinced—and I mean this sincerely.  I’m convinced if Washington continues to its same course, America will emerge not as the great nation of the 21st century by the end but as the second-tier power.  It will be passed by someone else.  I can’t tell where it will be but it will be passed by someone else.  That will not happen.  We’ll keep American strong because we’ll hold on to the values that have always made it successful, values of Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Teddy Roosevelt and other great presidents spoke about.  They strengthened our military with more troops.  They strengthened our families with good health air and good schools and values that are enduring and they strengthened our economy.

At the base of our ability to lead to world is a robust and powerful economy things are a little shaky.  You hear people say we’re hitting a rough spot.  It is more than that.  It’s more than just a rough spot.  There is a long term slide that we’ve seen as we’re competing with people around the world.  Age in particular.  And as the pocket books are being emptied by the oil producing states, taking more and more money every single day from us.  We can’t allow our economy to be weakened by these competitors.  Time for to us lift America, to strengthen our economy.  We’re going to do that by keeping our taxes down, by getting regulation down, by having immigration work for us.  That means stopping illegal immigration, protecting legal immigration.  (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We’re going to trade with the nations around the world, but we’ll do so on a level playing field.  We’ll invest in technology and innovation and be the best and the brightest with new products and designs and make sure we always lead the world.  This is the future of this great country. 

Now, I know that there is some that think that can all be done from Washington.  When it comes time to thinking about how we’ll guide our economy, I think it is more important to know how America works than to know how Washington works.  And I think it is helpful to have -- (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) -- when it comes time to think about how our economy will build great jobs for our kids and their kids and maintain the great military we’ve had through our economic strength, I think it is important to have a president who has had a job in the private sector.  (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

In a time like this, we recognize just how broken Washington is.  We’ve looked to them to solve our problems and they haven’t.  We asked them to solve Social Security and they haven’t done that.  We asked them to balance the budget and they haven’t.  We asked as well to rein in pork spending.  We asked to get health care that was affordable and they haven’t.  We asked them to get education that’s the best in the world.  They haven’t.  We asked them to live by high ethical standards.  And they haven’t.  We asked them to end illegal immigration.  And they haven’t.  We asked them to get us off of foreign oil and let us be energy independent.  They haven’t.  It is time for the politicians to leave Washington and for we, the people, to take over.  (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

This isn’t just about the heart and soul of our party or which party will win in November.  This is about the future course of our country.  This is about whether or not Washington will finally deal with the challenges we face.  Whether Washington is up to the task of helping solve these problems, taking advantage of opportunities, making sure that our kids and their kids live in an America that is the greatest nation on earth.  It must be.  It has always been. 

The world depends upon our sacrifice, our commitment, and dedication to peace and prosperity and liberty.  This is the greatest nation in the history of the earth.  We will keep it the hope of the earth.  We’ll do it together.  Thank you so much.  (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS:  Mitt Romney in Massachusetts accepting the victory up there in the state where he is lived as governor and he lives today.  And he also won in Utah, the other state he lived in.  Of course, I think he went to BYU and he was also a very successful in turning the Olympics out there.  He’s done well where he lived and worked.  He’s done well in Michigan and other states like Wyoming and some of the states where the LDS church is important.  But he still has yet to carve out a regional area of support yet tonight.

David?  David Gregory or is it David Schuster we’re joining right now.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  David Gregory.

MATTHEWS:  David Gregory, he doesn’t seem to have an original base yet.

GREGORY:  Yeah.  That’s really the key here.  We’re talking about the way we came into this night.  Who is the conservative alternative to John McCain, has been the frontrunner right now.

Thus far in our story, it’s Mike Huckabee who is winning the south, who is extremely competitive in Missouri.  It doesn’t matter...

MATTHEWS:  Excuse me, David, I’m sorry. 

GREGORY:  Yeah, go ahead.

MATTHEWS:  I’ve got to break in.  We’ve got an announcement to make, a declaration that Georgia has gone—the Republican has gone to Mike Huckabee.  Another big southern victory for him, along side—let’s see.  He’s got West Virginia, a border state.  He’s got Georgia now.  He’s got Alabama now.  He’s got Arkansas now. 

David, a big win now, Georgia joining the others.  It’s a big victory tonight for Mike Huckabee in the south.  He has carved out that region—David Gregory.

GREGORY:  He really has.  He’s carved out the region.  He’s going to get some delegates at the end of the night.  If he’s not a big player in California, he may not have a big number.  But this becomes a perception game, as we talked about as well, as a delegate game.  And right now Mike Huckabee, including the south, also very competitive in Missouri, making the point that he’s still in this race.

We know that Mitt Romney has made his bet father west, California principally where he spent so much on TV ads in the Los Angeles market and the Rocky Mountain States where he’ll wait for the caucus results there as well.  So he’s coming out saying stick with me.

But this becomes a perception game.  Who is the conservative alternative to John McCain?  And you have to look at Mike Huckabee right now as being very, very strong.

MATTHEWS:  Thanks you very much, David Gregory.

Let’s bring in Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi right now.

Haley Barbour, governor, thank you for joining us tonight.

I’m trying to figure out the Republican Party composition tonight.  John McCain has done so well in the northeast.  I was kidding that he has carried the metro-liner route all the way from New York down to Washington.  He’s carried all those states and Illinois.  Yet, those are states your party has always had a hard time carrying in November.  What does that tell you about who’s winning this thing?

HALEY BARBOUR, ®, GOVERNOR OR MISSISSIPPI:  Well, McCain has had a very good night.  He carried those states.  He also carried Oklahoma.  We’ll see about some other states.  He’s very competitive in the south.  Interestingly, he’s competitive with Huckabee. 

Huckabee is the other person who has had a very good night tonight.  He and McCain and neck-and-neck in Tennessee, in Missouri—not really a southern state but a border state.

McCain is certainly not the guy who has got it won.  Btu he is ahead. 

He’s having the best performance.

One thing that bothers me, Chris, as an old party chairman, is to hear everybody say they’ll stay in it until the convention.  Obviously, people ought to stay in it as long as it’s a viable race.  But at some point, somebody is going to have the delegates.  And at that point, the best thing is for us to all unite behind our nominee and get ready for November.

Any one of the five people who are our leading candidates for president was fine with me.  I said I could enthusiastically support any of them, particular consider who the competition will be in November.

MATTHEWS:  As a governor, you’re among the usual suspects of those who would gather the forces and try to bring this together the way that Bob Strauss used to do for the Decorates years ago—back when you could do that sort of thing.

Is there still a round table of Republican influence where you can assert influence over candidates like Huckabee, like Mitt Romney, and say it’s time to declare a winner for our party?

BARBOUR:  No.  There’s not some wigwam where a handful of people can say you’ve got to do this or that.  Nobody ought to try to.

At the same time, people ought to be honest and realistic.  If we get to the point where somebody clearly is going to win the nomination, then everybody in our party needs to come together behind that nominee, including his former opponents.

We’re not to that point yet, I don’t think, unless McCain has some kind of huge win in California.  But that day is coming.  It isn’t something for a handful of people to do.  Every body in this country who is a conservative and Republican and wants to have the strongest in the fall because the other two choices are very, very, very liberal.

MATTHEWS:  Every since Ronald Reagan came along and became such a great leader for the Republican Party and also a major president in our history, you’ve had a party that’s been able to pull itself together.  You’ve had a party of harmony.  In other words you could get the suburbs in Philadelphia and still win in Texas; you could put something together with both Bushes and certainly with Reagan. 

I just wonder, do you think McCain can do that kind of reach?  Can he reach all the way from the New York suburbs—let’s say the Ohio suburbs where you have to win, the Pennsylvania suburbs, and also carry a state like yours?  Is there anybody with reach in your party now?

BARBOUR:  McCain, Huckabee or Romney and the two that have dropped out, Giuliani and Thompson, can carry my state and can carry a bunch of other states considering who the competition’s going to be.

MATTHEWS:  Right.  I’ve got you.

BARBOUR:  McCain, in the polling, looks like he’s got reach all across the country.

I will say this about this election.  Regardless who our nominee is, it’s going to be much more of an election of persuasion than the last two presidential elections.  There are a lot of Republicans whose votes will be in play.  There are a lot of Democrats whose votes will be in play.

You know, Chris, when 45 percent of Michigan Democrats choose not to vote for their party’s leader, Hillary Clinton, that speaks volumes about that not only Independents, but some Democrats, as well as Republicans  are going to have to be persuaded to vote for a candidate.  And our candidates have got to be able to be successful in that.  It’s not enough just to unite the base.

MATTHEWS:  I know there will be a lot of surprising voting, Governor.  I’m surprised—I’m not surprised.  I’ll tell you I’m surprised because I know you’ll be able to solve this for me.  Why are so many of the broadcasters conservatives?  They’re not party people.  They general support orally and verbally the Republican positions and issues.  They don’t, as people, but Rush Limbaugh and the rest seem to be more interested in getting the kind of nominee they want instead of helping the party win the general.

BARBOUR:  A lot don’t like Senator McCain.  I’ve disagreed with McCain on a bunch of issues over the years.  I’m probably more conservative than any of these candidates left in the race.

When I compare McCain, who has 83 percent conservative voting record according to the conservative union, to Barack Obama, who has the most liberal voting record in the United States senate, and Hillary Clinton, whose voting record is very, very liberal—I don’t think anybody listening tonight needs to be convinced she is a liberal.  Then I say, hey, look, no question in my mind who I will be for.  And I think our friends in the news media ought to feel the same way. 

MATTHEWS:  I see a package here, a victorious package and certainly a competitive one.  It would be McCain and Barbour against Hillary and Evan Bye.  Can you beat that team? 

BARBOUR:  I’m on hurricane duty.  If any Republican candidate for president who picks a running mate from Mississippi—a Republican from Mississippi is not going to carry five states. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  Thanks for coming on, Governor Haley Barbour, former chairman of the party.  Thank you for joining us. 

Let’s bring in Joe Scarborough—sorry. 

OLBERMANN:  Unfortunately, the hurricane reference brings us to an unfortunate segue where we have a second reported fatality from the state of Tennessee.  There has been severe weather. 

This is videotape of Memphis where the police are reporting one fatality in a shopping area.  There is also been one in Fayette County, Tennessee.  At least four counties in the state had to close their polls early.  Sent people home to protect the poll workers at 7:00 eastern time. 

There is also the possibility that there has been tornado, reports of one on the ground not yet confirmed,  at Nashville.  Certainly at minimum, strong thunderstorm cells moving through right now.  At union university in Tennessee.  Strong thunderstorms moving through right now.

At Union University in Tennessee there were initially 15 or 16 injuries and 30 more people trapped in a collapsed dorm.  There are no fatalities there and they’ve gotten everybody, but a handful.  They believe they have seven people still trapped under the rubble.  The police and the medics are saying they are talking to those students.  There are two fatalities but there is a lot of good news after a series of strong storms.  Perhaps a cell, perhaps tornadoes.  Certainly one in, as reported, in Memphis and possibly one in Nashville as well.  Hitting on Super Tuesday night and affecting also the primary, needless say.  That is a secondary thing, considering all the lives affected tonight. 

MATTHEWS:  Keith, Hillary is about to speak right now. 

As we wait, let’s go to Joe Scarborough and the panel—Joe? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, let’s talk about the Republican side.  We heard Haley Barbour speaking. 

Not a lot of surprises tonight.  You’ve got McCain winning in the northwest.  You’ve got Huckabee in the southeast.  As we go west, you look at the results.  Romney has won Utah, ahead in Minnesota and Montana, ahead in Alaska—or going to be—Colorado.  It looks like we may have regional candidates here. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  We’ll take a wrap, I understand right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hillary is clapping. 

We wouldn’t want to you talk over her clapping and waving. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me take.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Here’s Senator Clinton and former president, Bill Clinton, about to speak here.  I think the former president is taking his side of the stage.  And here she is, Senator Hillary Clinton tonight. 

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.  Thank you, thank you.  (CHEERS)

Thank you very much.  You know, tonight we are hearing the voices of people across America.  People of all colors, all faiths and all walks of life, people on the day shift, the night shift, the late shift with the crying babies, moms and dads who want a better world for our children.  You know people who deserve a world of opportunity, all those who aren’t in the headlines but have always written America’s story.  (CHEERS)

After seven years of a president who lives in only to the special interests, you’re ready for a president who brings your voice, your values and your dreams to your White House.  (CHEERS)

Tonight, in record numbers, you voted not just to make history but to remake America, people in American Samoa, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and the great state of New York.  (CHEERS)

On just one really serious note.  We want to keep the people of Arkansas and Tennessee in our prayers.  They’ve suffered horrible tornadoes tonight.  We just talked to some of our folks there and people have died in both states.  And our thoughts and prayers go out to them in this moment of their need. 

Tonight, though, is your night.  Tonight is America’s night.  It is not over yet because the polls are still open in California for a few more minutes.  (CHEERS)

I hope that all of you will join our campaign at www.HillaryClinton.com.  Because you know that politics isn’t a game.  It is not about who is up or down.  It is about your lives, your families, your futures.  It is about the people who have shared their problems with me, looking for solutions—the mother whose insurance company won’t pay for her child’s treatment, the couple so determined to send their daughter to college.  They’re willing to mortgage their home with a subprime second mortgage.  The man who asked me what he was supposed to do after training the person who will take his job in another country.  The veterans who have come home, only to find they don’t have the health care, the compensation and the services they need. 

It is also about the people who want to seize America’s opportunities.  It is about the unions and businesses who are training people for green collar jobs.  It is about the auto company and the auto workers who want higher gas mileage cars so we can compete with the rest of the world.  (CHEERS)

It is about our scientists and researcher who want to be able to do stem cell research right here in the United States of America.  It is about our contractors and our construction worker who want to get to work to rebuild America from the bridges in Minnesota to the levees in New Orleans. 

For seven years, we have seen President Bush’s answers.  They don’t know what the stakes are in this election.  We know what we need is someone ready on day one to solve our problems and seize those opportunities.  (CHEERS)

Because when the bright lights are off and the cameras are gone, who can you count on to listen to you?  To stand up for you?  To listen to you.  (CHEERS)

Well, the Republicans want eight more years of the same.  They see—they see tax cuts for the wealthy and they say why not more?  They see $9 trillion in debt and say why not trillions more?  They see five years in Iraq and say why not 100 more?  Well, they’ve got until January 20th, 2009, and not one day more. (CHEERS)

Now we know the Republicans won’t give up the White House without a fight.  Well, let me be clear.  I won’t let anyone Swift Boat this country’s future. (CHEERS)

Together we’ll take back America.  Because I see an America where our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top where prosperity is shared and we create good jobs that stay right near America.  I see an America where we stand up to the oil companies and the oil producing companies, where we launch a clean energy revolution and finally confront the climate crisis.  I see an America where we don’t just provide health care for some people, or most people, but for every single man, woman and child.  (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I see an America where a young man or woman signs up to serve our country; we sign up to serve them, too.  (CHEERS)  An America with a 21st century G.I. Bill of Rights to help veterans go to college, buy a home or start their own businesses.  I see an America respected around the world again that reaches out to our allies.  And confronts our shared challenges from global terrorism to global warming to global epidemics.  That’s the America I see and that’s the America we will build together.

I am so lucky to have the most extraordinary staff, volunteers and supporters across the country.  (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I am so grateful for all those long hours and late nights that you’ve been putting in.  And I want to thank the most important people in my rife—first Bill and Chelsea for their incredible support.  They have done so much day in and day out.  And I want to thank all my friends and family, particularly my mother who was born before women could vote, and is watching her daughter on this stage tonight.  (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I also want to congratulate Senator Obama for his victory tonight.  And I look forward to continuing our campaign and our debate about how to leave our country better off for the next generation because that is the work of my life.  That is why I started my career fighting for abused and neglected children.  Children who had drawn the short straw in life.  Because this nation gave me every opportunity and we can do the same for every child.

We must continue to be a nation that strives always to give each of our children a better future.  A nation of optimists who believe our best days are yet to come.  A nation of idealists holding fast to our deepest values, that we are all created equal.  That we all deserved to fulfill our God-given potential.  That we are destined for progress together.

It’s the ideal inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty in this great city, that has overlooked our harbor through wars and depression and the dark days of September 11th.  The words we all know that give voice to America’s embrace.  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

A constant reminder that here in America, we face our challenges and we embrace all of our people.  So today, we say with one voice, give us the child who wants to learn, give us the people in need of work, give us the veterans who need our care.  We say give us this economy to rebuild and this war to end.  Give us this nation to heal, this world to lead, this moment to seize.  I know we’re ready.  Thank you all and God Bless you!

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Hillary Clinton speaking in a victorious mood in her headquarters in New York.  The numbers do not necessarily support her optimism.  Let’s go to the calls from NBC News here at two minutes past 11:00 Eastern Time.  The Democratic primary in California, too close to call.  We’re going to do the calls?  California, the polls just closed.  That was not the sound of the polls just closing, that was just for comedic effect.  Republicans in California, we’ll start there instead.  They are also too close to call.  Whether or not there is a graphic.  All right, the Arizona Republic, not the newspaper, the Arizona Republicans give John McCain his 7th victory of the night.  This one took a while considering it was his home state.  A closed primary and he is handling Mitt Romney with about one third of the vote in.  Also a call to be made in North Dakota at the caucus with all but two percent reporting.  Mitt Romney has won in North Dakota, his third victory of the night and won in a place where he did not live at any point to our knowledge.

Minnesota, giving Barack Obama his ninth individual victory in the Democratic caucuses there.  Polling there as of January 29th had him down by seven points.  In Idaho, the caucus there again is going to go based on our projection, to Barack Obama, giving him ten victories on the night to six for Senator Clinton.  And Chris, to you.

MATTHEWS:  Let’s bring in one of the winners tonight of many states, Governor Mike Huckabee.  I’m counting your states, governor.  Everybody thought you were going to be the blocking back for McCain tonight and you end up being the quarterback.  West Virginia, you won the caucuses earlier today.  Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas.  Did I miss one, governor?

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think we’re looking at Tennessee.  We’re leading in Missouri last I checked.

MATTHEWS:  I think we’re a little slow on that one.

HUCKABEE:  OK.  Go ahead and call it for me, Chris.  Then we’ll have something really exciting to talk about.  Come on.

MATTHEWS:  I don’t have the authority.  But I would love to do it.  Let me ask you about your role in this campaign now.  You are winning the South.  You won in Iowa, of course, that started the whole ballgame going for you.  John McCain seems to win very effectively in states that Democrats usually win in the general election.  What does that tell you about his situation?  I mean, I was kidding tonight, he’s sort of the metro liner candidate, New York, Connecticut, up and down the coast, except for Massachusetts where Governor Romney won.  What could this do to have a front-runner who only wins in states you probably can’t win in the general?

HUCKABEE:  Well, it’s critical to win the South, as you know, Chris, as a Republican candidate.  You don’t win it, you don’t become the president.  I’ve been saying all along the reason that my campaign had viability and credibility is we were able to capture votes that Republicans have to capture.  But the other side of that is I’ve been capturing votes in my entire political life that Republicans don’t typically capture.  Forty eight percent of the African-American vote in my state.  I am the only Republican in 119 years to have the endorsement of the machinists and aerospace workers union and the international painters union which I have in this contest.  My support is as wide as home schoolers and the NEA of New Hampshire.  So you have to have that kind of coalition of broad-based support to be president.

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of Governor Barbour’s comment?  I don’t know if you heard it on MSNBC broadcast just a couple minutes ago where he said it’s basically time for the candidates who are not leading this race to begin to recognize that one candidate is, and that’s John McCain.  I don’t want to paraphrase him to strongly or too courageously, but he would seem to be making the point it’s time to declare a victor.

HUCKABEE:  You know, if John McCain gets 1,191 votes, then he’s the victor.  If I do, then I am.  Until he does, nobody has won this thing yet.  I think it’s a little amazing to me that some of us, take myself, worked awfully hard, had support from people all over this country who made incredible sacrifices for me to be here tonight and for me to say, somebody suggested I ought to leave and make it easy for another candidate.  I don’t think so, Chris.  Ain’t going to happen.

MATTHEWS:    Are you going all the way to St. Paul?

HUCKABEE:  I’m going all the way to St. Paul unless somebody gets all those delegates that makes the trip meaningless to me.  Then I’ll save the money.  But right now it looks like we may end up in St. Paul before we have the nominee.  Now, if the others would like to turn it over to me and drop out, I’ll be happy to accept it.  But as we say in the South, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in this dog.  And just know there’s a whole lot of fight in this dog.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Governor Romney has been making cracks about you being somewhat the Sancho Panza in this affair to the loyal deputy.  But did you have any hand in a deal in West Virginia?  Was there any deal to throw it to you by the McCain people that you know anything about?

HUCKABEE:  No, I wish I was so smart.  We had heard that the Ron Paul

people had decided that if their guy couldn’t get it, they would throw their

support to me.  You know, I think it’s probably pretty logical that the McCain

people didn’t get their guy in, that they would support me over Mitt Romney if

they didn’t get their guy in.  But as far as did I have any contact?  No.  Did

I sit down with anybody and work something out?  No.  But I am grateful that we

won West Virginia.  You know, here’s the thing.  Today Mitt Romney was

whining.  Yesterday he said we shouldn’t be whining.  Once again, he’s changed

from the no whine position to the whine position.  He’s taking both sides of

whining so at least I can congratulate him on being consistent in taking …

MATTHEWS:  So he should serve no whine before its time?

HUCKABEE:  ‘I wanted to use that line so badly and my staff said don’t.  Nobody will get it.  And you took it from me.  But I’m glad you did. 

I’m going to tell …

MATTHEWS:  I think we both stole it from Orson Wells.

OLBERMANN:  It can be usable somewhere down the line.  We all know that in our respective businesses.

Last question, sir.  Again, with these quotes coming from the Romney campaign, I wanted to get your reaction.  Are you in fact in cahoots with or the sidekick of john McCain?

HUCKABEE:  No, I’m running against John McCain.  He’s running against me.  What I think is hard for the Romney people to understand, John McCain and I believe that politics can be conducted in a civil, gentlemanly way.  I know that may be a shock to the Romney campaign, but we’re running for president, not running to see if we can take a ball peen hammer to reach other’s kneecaps and disable the other.  That’s why I think the Romney campaign thinks there’s some unholy alliance.  Look, we’re opponents but we also believe that this country is more important than either one of us individually.  So we want to keep it clean and honorable.  So when it’s over, we’ll be able to unite this party and win so that we can have a Republican president that will keep taxes lower, keep families in the forefront and keep the Republican values out there for America.

MATTHEWS:  I guess we can take that as another vote for Mitt Romney for Miss Congeniality of this debate..  Thank you very much, it’s getting so interesting here.  Governor Huckabee, congratulations on your victories tonight.  You surprised a lot like myself.  A lot of victories in your column.

Let’s turn now to Norah O’Donnell and take us further inside tonight’s races.  Norah?

NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, thank you very much.  Let’s take a look at the state of course that everyone is focused on, the big one, California of course.  The polls have just closed.  What is at stake, 170 delegates up for grabs on the Republican side, 370 up for grabs on the Democratic side.  And until this year, California held its primary so late that it wasn’t a big player.  This year it’s the biggest player of them all.  Two groups to look at in California on the Democratic side.  Independents and Hispanics.  You know, California Democrats only started allowing independents to vote in their primary in 2004.  So that’s new.  And we know that from exit polls in the past those independents have favored Barack Obama.  As for Hispanics, there are 13 million Hispanics in California.  Of course, about 5 million are eligible to vote.  In fact, one in every four Hispanic voters lives in California.

And of course, Hispanics have favored Hillary Clinton in the process.  So this could be a very close contest.  We heard that predicted by both campaigns.  On the Republican side, it is a closed Republican primary.  So in order for McCain to do well, he’s going to have to do well among the so-called conservatives he’s had trouble with in the past.  Back to you.

MATTHEWS:  OK, Norah, thank you very much.  Joining us right now is David Axelrod, the top consultant and strategist.  We love having him on the program.  Your candidate won 10 big states tonight.  Georgia, Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, Idaho.  A lot of states where the predominant vote is white.  Does that show he’s gotten beyond this challenge of getting his majority share of the white vote?

DAVID AXELROD; OBAMA CAMPAIGN:  I don’t know why you guys say it was such a challenge.  He won the state of Iowa to start this whole process and won rural Nevada.  He did well in South Carolina in winning that primary.  Tonight, he won East, North, South and West and remember there are more states yet to be heard from where I think he’s going to do quite well.  I understand Idaho is now in that column.  So yes, I think he’s proven why he would be the strongest nominee for our party, because he’s bringing so many people into the process.  Independent voters, disaffected Republican voters, young voters, and he’s swelling the participation in all of these contests.  I heard about a caucus in Kansas that had 3,000 people show up where he won overwhelmingly.  So I think Barack Obama has brought some new energy to this Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS:  How do you get Barack Obama in the last half of this fight, there is a little less than half left of this, this fight for the nomination, the regular season sort of follows the playoffs in this sport.  As you get into the regular season of two or three primaries a week, how do you get him in front of enough crowds to have an advantage over the Clintons who have had so much capital built up over 20 years?

AXELROD:  Well, Chris, you describe a great challenge and this is why we were always the underdog.  They’ve got the greatest name in Democratic politics.  They have a machine they’ve honed over two decades and that’s what we’ve been fighting from the beginning.  This was the toughest day, 22 states over the course of one day.  Actually, it will be more manageable doing a few states at a time in the future.  We’ve got the volunteer and the financial base to compete in those states.  As you now, we’ve got almost—between 650,000 and 700,000 contributors, so many of them are small contributors.  Only three percent have maxed out to us.  And these people will continue to support this campaign because they sense a real opportunity for change in this country, an unparalleled opportunity.  So we’ve had a great night tonight and we’re ready to go.  We’re fired up and we’re ready to go.

MATTHEWS:  David, about Massachusetts, the conventional wisdom on that was called by the various networks was that he endorsement of Senator Kennedy to say nothing of Senator Kerry and Governor Deval Patrick did not have the impact that you wanted in Massachusetts because it was not a close outcome and your candidate did not win.  Do you have a counter to that argument?

AXELROD:  Well, the fact is that that was the best state Bill Clinton had the last time he ran.  The Clintons have a long-standing association with the voters of that state and we had a short run-up to the February 5th primaries there.  But let’s be clear that those endorsements have been helpful to us beyond the borders of Massachusetts.  Senator Kennedy’s endorsement, Caroline Kennedy’s endorsement had a galvanic effect and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve closed a 20-point gap in the national polls and why we’ve been able to fight so well today and why we’ve won so many states across the country.

So we’re grateful for their efforts and they’re going to all play a big role in our campaign moving forward.

MATTHEWS:  California tonight, what is your expectation, David?

AXELROD:  Well, I always thought that was going to be a tough one for us because of early voting.  A lot of our surge has come in the last couple of weeks but voting began before that.  And that’s a hard thing to overcome.  I think we are running a surprisingly strong race there and I’m really looking forward to hearing the results.  One thing I’m sure of is we’re going to come out of California with a boatload of delegates and that’s what this state is about, there were over 1,600 delegates at stake.  I think we’re going to get our share and maybe more and I think that is going to give us a great foundation moving forward.

MATTHEWS:  David, we got a call here.  Senator Clinton has won Arizona tonight.  What do you make of that tonight?  That’s the predicted winner in Arizona, we’re putting that in the Senator Clinton column.  What do you make of that development tonight?

AXELRBOD:  I think you will find it was a very close race in Arizona tonight.  You know, that was a state where we were, again, coming from behind and I think we closed well and we’re going to leave with a lot of delegates from that state.  We have the support of the governor, Janet Napolitano and I think that helps us close the gap and I saw in one exit poll that we got 45 percent of the Hispanic vote in the state, which was a good number for us, good progress for us.

So, you know, we feel good about the 10 states we’ve won.  As I’m sure they feel good about the seven they won.  And I look forward to hearing about the rest.

MATTHEWS:  David, as you campaign through Virginia, Maryland and the

District of Columbia., remember that HARDBALL is located at the epicenter of

those three states.  As you come through with your candidate, give us an hour

and we’ll give you an hour back.  OK.  David Axelrod …

AXELROD:  Thanks for the invitation.

MATTHEWS:  Chief media consultant for the senator from Illinois and the man who won ten states tonight.  Coming up, the delegate count as it stands now plus much more from our panel as our exit polls continue.  And as we await results on that big prize of California, which is too close to call.  Your MSNBC live coverage continues live on Super Duper Tuesday, which is proving to be quite a fascinating night tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  As we await both some information and guidance from California and John McCain speaking to his faithful, the excitement of Super Tuesday perhaps best described by this report from election officials reporting people improperly trying to cast ballots tonight.  Improperly because this was taking place in Florida.  Where they voted last week.  On that note, let’s turn to Chuck Todd, political director of NBC News who is tracking the delegate race for us tonight.  I don’t think there’s been any change in Florida tonight, has there?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  No change yet.  We’re waiting for the lawyers to step in on that one.  Let’s just—what we’ve been trying to do a little bit is at least get an estimate of what the delegate totals are going to be, what each boiler room is going in.  Going into the big numbers in California and Arizona and Colorado, which are three of the sort of bigger delegate totals that we have no clue yet how they’re going to break up.  From what we’ve been able to put together with our own estimates, talking with the Clinton campaign, talking with the Obama campaign is that we’ve got Obama sitting at about 594 delegates and we’ve got Clinton sitting at about 546.  And frankly, what does that mean?  It means we are looking at an even split.  The one thing I think we all sort of secretly never thought was going to happen, but this thing seems razor thin.  The likelihood that we could have 839-839 after tonight, after all there’s 1,678, 840 was the big thing we thought we were going to get.  Obviously, Arizona, this is a good delegate split state for Senator Clinton.  She’s likely to get a little more of an advantage there than she would have gotten.  Massachusetts, as the vote totals have been coming in, she’s gotten some bigger delegate margins than she expected.  And it really helped her a lot there.  But the big thing for Obama and what’s kept him in this game was, number one, he did pretty well in New York, scored somewhere between 90 and 94 delegates, depending ones who estimate you believe, which kept her margins down.  But he’s just cleaning up in these caucus states.  They believe they’re going to have a net 20 out of Minnesota.  They got North Dakota.  We’re waiting on Idaho, but they feel good.  They feel good about Colorado.  We’ve seen these caucus states.  They spend a lot more resources there, they spend a lot more time.  And it’s going to be one of those things that’s going to keep them in the game.

Moving to the Republicans, we feel like we have a range that we can say.  With McCain, we can sit here and say he’s going to get as few as 400 and as many as about 650.  The McCain campaign feels like they’re going to get somewhere in the 500s.  They would love to get to the 600s tonight.  Because there are not a lot of winner take all states left.  He’s really benefited from the winner take all.  Texas is one, that comes up on March 4th.  Virginia is one next week.  That’s one next week.

As for Romney, we’ve got Romney—excuse me, with Romney, we think his range will be between as little as 170 and as much as 428.  This means he would have to do really well in California.  A lot better than any of us have thought.  We’ll take a look.  For Huckabee range, he could get 200 delegates tonight.  But what if he gets more than Romney?  Hard to imagine because we don’t expect him to get many out of California, but we’ll see.

OLBERMANN:  All right, Chuck Todd, great thanks for that and it tells you how close this is.  As Tim Russert rejoins us, I’m missing something and it’s probably all those years I wasted in sports.  Barack Obama has won 10 of the 17 victories tonight.  He won threes to-up states we’ve been discussing as critical going in here, Connecticut, Utah and Delaware, the Todd delegates as opposed to the official delegates suggest that it’s 594, Clinton 546 and California may be close enough to be a 50-50 split.  I’m not understanding other than from the political bravado P.R. point of view where the claim of momentum comes from the Hillary Clinton campaign.  Can you tell me what I’m missing?

RUSSERT:  Keith, what they will point to is you get this sort of tantalizing close for Obama.  After Iowa, New Hampshire and then it slipped away.  And so Obama is almost being penalized for all the good news that people were giving from his campaign last week.  We might win New Jersey, we might win Massachusetts, we might even win California.  The fact is it’s the delegates that nominate.  Both campaigns will acknowledge that.  But what the Obama campaign did want tonight a week from tonight, the Chesapeake primary, Virginia, Maryland and DC, pointing to a state that was destined to be Hillary Clinton’s.  Connecticut is something he’ll point to.  Hillary Clinton on the other hand will say from Massachusetts to New Jersey, she hopes to Missouri to California, you see I have the broad sweep of the country.

I keep going back to the delegate count because it’s that tight and it’s that important.  I think there will be a lot of spin on both sides.  But, again, the enticing sense of impending victory that many of the Obama supporters had going into tonight in terms of grabbing onto one of those hotly contested big states seems to have slipped away at this moment, other than Connecticut.

MATTHEWS:  Let’s talk down the road dynamically.  David Axelrod is bullish as hell, Tim, about his ability to raise money with so many thousands of contributors who have nowhere near maxed out, they are sort of regular people, young people that have given small amounts, plenty more room to give.  He’s confident that he can give the money from here on out.  Barack Obama also does well as you and I know and everyone knows when he can get in a room with people.  If he can do two or three states a week rather than 20 states a week he has the advantage.  Does he have a money and a campaign itinerary advantage at this point coming out of tonight?

RUSSERT:  Money, clearly.  They demonstrated the last couple weeks how much they could raise, $32 million versus $13 million for the Clinton campaign.  And the calendar.  The Clinton people acknowledge that the Obama people are correct, that the next six or seven primaries or caucuses are ones that Obama could win.  Next week, with the Chesapeake as I mentioned.  And so this is far from over because remember, guys, we all thought a few weeks ago that Super Tuesday would be definitive.  This would be it.  Hillary Clinton never anticipated she would have a well-financed, well-organized opponent like a Barack Obama this far into the primary season.  It’s far from over.  It’s just that my response to Keith was, the Obama peoples’ hopes, expectations were so high they really thought that they could pull off a few dramatic surprises and take the upper hand going into the final few months of this campaign.

MATTHEWS:  Does this remind you about 1984 where the Mondale people were brilliant at suggesting that they survive the onslaught of Gary Hart at that time?  He was the insurgent in those days in Georgia, if they could hold that one state against him, it would make up for losing seven out of nine states that day.  I’m just going back to Keith’s numbers.  If you look at the numbers tonight, Barack did really well.  He won a majority of the states so far.  He’s done very well tonight, he picked up Connecticut.  He didn’t quite get New Jersey, he hasn’t quite gotten California.  We haven’t quite called that yet.

But just because he hasn’t quite knocked her out, she declares herself the triumphant champion, which seems like Mondale over Gary Hart all over again.

RUSSERT:  Gary hart can still tick off the states he won that night. 

And in subsequent weeks.

MATTHEWS:  But Bryant Gumbel declared Bob Beckel the winner the next morning.  I will never forget it.

RUSSERT:  I think we have to be very careful about declaring winners.  It was Harold Ickes, the senior adviser to Hillary Clinton who said to me, remember this, it’s not states that elect or nominate candidates, it’s delegates.  Delegates, delegates.  And we have to keep a very hard count.  That’s why we’ve asked each of the campaigns for their list of the super delegates.  Don’t give us a number, give us a list.  And now those campaigns are within 90 delegates of each other on the super delegates.  So this is a very close primary race with a lot more twists and turns to play out.  Every time people begin to think it was just about over, we’ve learned otherwise.

OLBERMANN:  And to that point, Tim, we haven’t talked about the Republicans for a little while here.  Who’s the stalking horse, who’s in third place?  Nobody is going to take the leadership away from John McCain after tonight, after six or seven victories, but did Romney and Huckabee officially switch back and forth tonight?

RUSSERT:  I think that Mike Huckabee has emerged as the alternative to John McCain.  You know, what’s my name?  I can hear him saying.  If there is an alliance between the two of them, it is now one of co-equals in terms of tonight.  Huckabee has demonstrated a real pull in the Bible Belt.  When you look at the surveys, it’s amazing a majority of the Republican voters in many of the states say the one person who represents my values is Mike Huckabee.  And John McCain cannot win a general election without the values voters of the Republican conservative movement in his corner. 

MATTHEWS:  And Haley Barbour was on tonight, Tim, the governor of Mississippi, who is the old chair of the party, really a political guy if there ever was one.  And he was saying, it was basically time to ring the bell, come home, pick a nominee and stop all of this, that the people that can’t win should quit. 

And then we had Mike Huckabee on a few moments ago who said he’s not quitting.  He’s in love with this campaign.  He said, I can’t betray my troops.  Romney is out there saying this is the beginning of a great campaign.  These Republicans are not acting like Republicans.  I think that’s fair to say. 

RUSSERT:  Well, Romney needs a victory in California, though, I really believe that.  He can’t keep spending his—well, he can keep spending his own money if he wants to.  But he needs something tangible to hold on to other than Massachusetts and Utah.  It comes to be perceived as a fool’s errand. 

Huckabee, because of the commitment of people he has, is running without much money.  I mean, he can fly on coach seats in airplanes and puddle jump around the country and demonstrate his ability to draw votes and gain delegates.  Go to the convention, have a real voice on the platform and who knows, maybe say to John McCain, I’m the conservative Republican who can help you with the conservative base. 

OLBERMANN:  But he probably was either being hyperbolic or didn’t realize the implications of this, but when Chris asked him about whether or not he was going to go all the way to St. Paul, he said, yes, unless I have already got all of the delegates and I don’t need to make the trip and can save the money. 

And I’m thinking, don’t you want to show up in St. Paul, especially if you have all of the delegates?  But seriously, where—between here and St.  Paul, where is he going to get some votes? 

RUSSERT:  On the road to Damascus. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Well, I thought this was Damascus on the road to St. Paul this year, because it’s the most chaotic Republican Party I’ve ever seen, Tim. 

RUSSERT:  It is remarkable, because nobody has been able to put together the elements that Ronald Reagan put together or the elements that George Bush put together, in terms of the economic conservative, the foreign policy hard-liner and the values voter.  And it is necessary for the Republicans to do that to go into a general election. 

McCain has the upper hand.  He has a lot of delegates, a boatload full tonight.  And he’s going to—begin to try to consolidate the nomination.  But Huckabee is not going to be denied.  He has a voice in this process now based on his performance so far tonight.  And my instinct looking at some of these states still out, I think he has a few more wins coming his way. 

MATTHEWS:  Tom Brokaw is going to join us right now—Tom.

TOM BROKAW, FORMER NBC ANCHOR:  Well, I’ve been talking with somebody who is familiar with the Romney campaign and they say a week ago—a week ago tomorrow actually there was a big family conference within the campaign about how hard he should go after John McCain, how much of his own fortune he should use to do that. 

He apparently spent a long day in conference with his family and with

his advisers and decided that he would not in fact go the scorched earth route

and that—all right, we’re going to go to Mitt Romney wins Minnesota, I’m

told, this back to my old job…

MATTHEWS:  There you go.

BROKAW:  There he is, our projected winner in Minnesota.  The caucus state gets him a few more delegates.  But of course, it’s the big state of California that we’re waiting to see how he does.  At any rate, in the Romney circle, they’re very concerned that he not destroy his chances for another run at the presidency at some point downstream. 

And if he doesn’t win California tonight, obviously then he has to make a very hard decision about folding his tent and moving on.  And apparently, it was a day-long meeting a week ago, he got some help on subsequent days from the conservative talk show circuit, but probably not enough to carry him through this evening in a way that he had hoped he would. 

MATTHEWS:  Tom, the Reagan model comes to mind where you challenge the incumbent or the front-runner, Jerry Ford in that case back in ‘76, but you immediately begin your campaign to replace him. 

BROKAW:  Yes, well, you know, the other thing about Ronald Reagan is that he had better standing I think in the Republican Party among those who would show up at a convention than Mitt Romney would have at a convention.  He would have to wait until the convention is over and then begin his run.

You know, and he could take a couple of years and go around the country on the lecture circuit, if you will, begin to build some relationships with conservatives and demonstrate in some fashion or another, maybe with a think tank or use some of his considerable political fortune to, in effect, reinvent himself and persuade everybody that he is an authentic conservative. 

After all of those radio ads that the McCain campaign played in which he described himself as an independent during the Reagan-Bush years didn’t help him with the hardcore conservatives, I’m sure.

OLBERMANN:  So, Tom, has Romney hit just up against that wall at past which you ruin your chances for a later nomination, the race of 2012 or even later than that, or have other people dragged him to that wall?  Where does—in that construction that he’s saving his identity for a later race, how close to the edge has he gotten? 

BROKAW:  Well, I think he has gotten pretty close to the edge, and I think tonight will be a big determinant of that.  If he wins California, of course, he lives to see another day.  But a lot of it will depend on California and how he does in the American West. 

And he doesn’t want to go out as somebody who not only spent a lot of his own money, but kind of lost his dignity along the way as well.  So these are hard decisions for candidates to make at this point.  The night is not over.  California is still there for him to win.  We’re counting the vote right now, as you know, and on the Democratic side and on the Republican side.  It’s not yet possible for us to make a projection about who will win the big Golden State. 

Now Arnold Schwarzenegger was at John McCain’s side for lot of that.  McCain didn’t spend as much money as Romney did out there.  Rudy Giuliani was around as well.  McCain was very popular on the talk show circuit.  Californians like his kind of Republican.  He’s a big war hero.  He’s a maverick.  He plays into the stages that are currently constituted in the GOP. 

MATTHEWS:  And I wonder whether people like Gerry Parsky out there, the great party guy out there in Southern California, they’ve been sort of praying for a McCain-type candidate.  They found—Tom and Tim, they found, of course, Schwarzenegger came along almost like manna from heaven—well, here he is, John McCain, the man we are speaking about, Tom and Tim.  Here he is about to acknowledge his big victories tonight. 

They were all, of course, along—most of them along the Eastern Seaboard, which is tough territory for Republicans.  But he looks like he has done what he wanted to do tonight.  There he is, with Cindy. 

BROKAW:  I will tell you, Keith and Chris, it’s remarkable.  He’s 71 years old, he started the morning here on the “Today” show in New York, and look at him, he’s still going strong. 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

CROWD:  Mac is back!  Mac is back!  Mac is back!

MCCAIN:  Thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Tonight, my friends, we’ve won a number of important victories in the closest thing we’ve ever had to national primary. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  We’ve won some of the biggest states in the country. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  We’ve won primaries in the West, the South, the Midwest, in the Northeast.  And although I’ve never minded the role of the underdog, and have relished as much as anyone come from behind wins, tonight I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party front-runner for the nomination for the president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  And I don’t really mind it one bit. 

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN:  I’m so grateful to so many people for what we accomplished tonight.  All the staff, supporters and volunteers who stuck with us through thick and thin.  And it was thick and thin. 

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN:  And worked so hard on my behalf.  I owe you all a debt I can never fully repay.  But I promise I’ll never forget it and I’ll work every day of my life to prove myself worthy of your faith in me.  I want to especially thank those of you who have recently joined our campaign and were so indispensable to our success tonight. 

Thank you, of course, to my family, my wife Cindy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  My children, Meghan, Bridget, Doug and Andy. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  And my children who could not be here and my wonderful, wonderful mother, Roberta McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  Who, in two days, will be 96 years old. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  We’ve taken her everywhere. 

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN:  It’s obvious to me, as it is to everyone, that I couldn’t have done this without you.  And finally, thank you, Arizona. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  It’s wonderful to be home tonight among so many of our friends to celebrate this night.  You know, I was over 40 years old before I could claim a hometown.  And I can’t express how fortunate I feel to have found a home in this beautiful state. 

It has come to mean so much to me.  You know, I am, as is often reported, a little superstitious.  So I don’t want to make any exaggerated predictions, and there’s still a long road ahead.  However, I think it’s fair to say that we might have come a little bit closer today to the day when mothers in Arizona might be able to tell their children that some day they could grow up to be president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD:  Mac is back!  Mac is back!  Mac is back!

MCCAIN:  I want to congratulate Governor Huckabee and his supporters for their success today and tonight.  Not for the first time he’s surprised the rest of us and proved again his exceptional skills as a campaigner and the extraordinary commitment and determination of the people who believe so passionately in him.  I salute you.  I salute Governor Huckabee. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  And I want to congratulate Governor Romney as well on his wins today. 

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  You know, he and I have been going at it pretty hard over the last few weeks and he’s a tough competitor.  The closeness of the contest in California is testament to that, and to the dedication of his supporters and I salute them too. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  This election, like any election, is a rough and tumble business.  We all want to win and we fight as hard as we can to do it.  But I have respect for people who are willing to accept the extraordinary demands, all the ups and downs of such a tough and long contest and Governor Romney has mine. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  We still have a ways to go, but we’re much closer to the victory we’ve worked so hard to achieve.  I am confident we will get there. 

And I…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN:  And I am mindful that I am not only running for the highest office in the greatest country on earth, but that I’m also running for the great privilege of leading the party that has been my political home for a quarter century.  I’m grateful for and humbled by the prospect.

And I promise you, if I am so fortunate to win your nomination, I will work hard to ensure that the conservative philosophy and principles of our great party, principles that have done so well by the country we love, will again win the votes of the majority of the American people and defeat any candidate our friends on the other side nominate. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  And perfect timing.  Senator McCain with an olive branch to Governor Romney and now from New York, here’s Senator Obama. 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.  Well, first of all, let me just say I could not have a better senior senator than our great senator from the state of Illinois, Dick Durbin. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I have too many friends to mention, each one of them individually.  But it is good to be back home.  It is good to be home. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  It is good to be home.  It is good to have Michelle home. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  The girls are with us tonight, but we asked them, did you want to come on stage, and Malia, our 9-year-old, said, daddy, you know that’s not my thing. 

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA:  So they’re upstairs doing what they do.  Before I begin, I just want to send my condolences to the victims of the storms that hit Tennessee and Arkansas today.  They are in our thoughts and in our prayers, and we hope that our federal government will respond quickly and rapidly to make sure that they get all the help that they need. 

The polls are just closing in California. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And the votes are still being counted in cities and towns

across America.  But there is one thing…

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (OFF-MIKE)

OBAMA:  You know I love you back. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  But there is one thing on this February night that we do not need the final results to know.  Our time has come. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD  Obama!  Obama!  Obama!

OBAMA:  Our time has come.  Our movement is real.  And change is coming to America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Only a few hundred miles from here, almost one year ago to the day, as Dick said, we stood on the steps of the Old State Capitol to reaffirm a truth that was spoken there so many generations ago.  That a house divided cannot stand.  That we are more than a collection of red states and blue states.  We are and always will be the United States of America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD:  USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!

OBAMA:  What began as a whisper in Springfield soon carried across the cornfields of Iowa, where farmers and factory workers, students and seniors stood up in numbers we have never seen before.  They stood up to say that maybe this year, we don’t have to settle for politics where scoring points is more important than solving problems. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Maybe this year we can finely start doing something about health care we can’t afford.  Maybe this year we can start doing something about mortgages we can’t pay.  Maybe this year, this time can be different. 

The voices echoed from the hills of New Hampshire to the deserts of Nevada where teachers and cooks and kitchen workers stood up to say that maybe Washington doesn’t have to be run by lobbyists anymore. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Maybe the voices of the American people can finally be heard again. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  They reached the coast of South Carolina when people said that maybe we don’t have to be divided by race and region and gender. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  That the crumbling schools are stealing the future of black children and white children.  That we can come together and build an America that gives every child everywhere the opportunity to live out their dreams.  This time can be different. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And today, on this Tuesday in February, in states north and south, east and west, what began as a whisper in Springfield has swelled to a chorus of millions calling for change. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  It’s a chorus that cannot be ignored.  A chorus that cannot be deterred.  This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD:  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!

OBAMA:  It’s different not because of me.  It’s different because of you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Because you are tired of being disappointed.  And you’re tired of being let down.  You’re tired of hearing promises made and plans proposed in the heat of a campaign only to have nothing change when everyone goes back to Washington. 

Nothing changes because lobbyists just write another check.  Or politicians start worrying about how to win the next election instead of why they should.  Or because they focus on who’s up and who’s down instead of who matters. 

And while Washington is consumed with the same drama and divisions and distractions, another family puts up a for sale sign in their front yard.  Another factory shuts its doors.  Another soldier waves goodbye as he leaves on another tour of duty in a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  It goes on and on and on. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  But in this election, at this moment, you are standing up all across this country to say, not this time.  Not this year.  The stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same Washington game with the same Washington players and somehow expect a different result. 

This time must be different.  This time we have to turn the page.  This time we have to write a new chapter in American history. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  This time we have to seize the moment. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  Now, this isn’t about me and it’s not about Senator Clinton.  As I’ve said before, she was a friend before this campaign, she’ll be a friend after it’s over. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I respect her.  I respect her as a colleague.  I congratulate her on her victories tonight.  She has been running an outstanding race.  But this fall, this fall we owe the American people a real choice. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  We have to choose between change and more of the same.  We have to choose between looking backwards and looking forwards.  We have to choose between our future and our past. 

It’s a choice between going into this election with Republicans and independents already united against us or going against their nominee with a campaign that has united Americans of all parties from all backgrounds, from all races, from all religions, around a common purpose. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD:  We want change!  We want change!  We want change!

OBAMA:  It’s a choice between having a debate with the other party about who has the most experience in Washington or having one about who’s most likely to change Washington, because that’s a debate that we can win. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  It’s a choice between a candidate who’s taken more money from Washington lobbyists than either Republican in this race and a campaign that has not taken a dime of their money because we have been funded by you.  You have funded this campaign. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD:  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!

OBAMA:  And if I’m your nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq, because I didn’t.  Or that I gave George Bush the benefit of doubt on Iran, because I haven’t.  Or that I support the Bush-Cheney doctrine of not talking to leaders we don’t like.  Because I profoundly disagree with that approach. 

And he will not be able to say that I wavered on something as fundamental as whether or not it’s OK for America to use torture, because it’s never OK.  That is the choice in this election. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  The Republicans running for president have already tied themselves to the past.  They speak of a 100-year war in Iraq.  They talk about billions more in tax breaks for the wealthiest few who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them.  Tax breaks that mortgage our children’s future on a mountain of debt at a time when there are families who can’t pay their medical bills and students who can’t pay their tuition. 

Those Republicans are running on the politics of yesterday.  That is why our party must be the party of tomorrow.  And that is the party that I intend to lead as president of the United States of America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I’ll be the president who ends the tax breaks to companies that ship our jobs overseas. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And start putting them in the pockets of hard-working Americans who deserve them, and struggling homeowners who deserve them, and seniors who should retire with dignity and respect and deserve them. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I’ll be the president who finally brings Democrats and Republicans together to make health care affordable and available for every single American. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  We will put a college education within the reach of anyone who wants to go.  And instead of just talking about how great our teachers are, we will reward them for their greatness with more pay and better support. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  And we will harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all and we will invest in solar and wind and biodiesel, clean energy, green energy that can fuel economic development for generations to come.  That’s what we’re going to do when I’m president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  When I’m president, we will put an end to the politics of fear.  A politics that uses 9/11 as a way to scare up votes.  We’re going to start seeing 9/11 as a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st Century: terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease.  We can do this.  We can do this. 

CROWD:  Yes, we can!

OBAMA:  But it will no be easy.  It will require struggle and it will require sacrifice.  There will be setbacks and we will make mistakes.  And that is why we need all the help we can get. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  So tonight, I want to speak directly to all those Americans who have yet to join this movement but still hunger for change.  They know it in their gut, they know we can do better than we’re doing.  They know that we can take our politics to a higher level. 

But they’re afraid.  They’ve been taught to be cynical.  They’re doubtful that it can be done.  But I’m here to say tonight to all of you who still harbor those doubts, we need you.  We need you to stand with us.  We need you to work with us.  We need you to help us through that together, ordinary people can still do ordinary—extraordinary things in the United States of America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA:  I am blessed to be standing in the city where my own extraordinary journey of service began.  You know, just a few miles from here, down on the South Side in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant, it was there that I learned what it takes to make change happen.  I was a young organizer then. 

In fact, there’s some folks here who I organized with.  A young organizer intent on fighting joblessness and poverty on the South Side.  And I still remember one of the very first meetings I put together.  We had worked on it for days.  We had made phone calls, we had knocked on doors, we had put out flyers.  But on that night, nobody showed up.  Our volunteers who had worked so hard felt so defeated they wanted to quit.  And to be honest, so did I. 

But at that moment, I happened to look outside, and I saw some young boys tossing stones at a boarded-up apartment building across the street.  They were like the boys in so many cities across the country.  Little boys but without prospects, without guidance, without hope for the future.  And I turned to the volunteers, and I asked them, before you quit, before you give up, I want you to answer one question.  What will happen to those boys if we don’t stand up for them? 

And those volunteers, they looked out that window, and they saw those boys.  And they decided that night to keep going, to keep organizing, keep fighting for better schools, fighting for better jobs, fighting for better health care.  And I did, too.  And slowly but surely in the weeks and months to come, the community began to change. 

You see, the challenges we face will not be solved with one meeting in one night.  It will not be resolved on even a super-duper Tuesday.  Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.  We are the hope of those boys who have so little, who’ve been told that they cannot have what they dream, that they cannot be what they imagine.  Yes, they can. 

We are the hope of the father who goes to work before dawn and lies awake with doubt that tells him he cannot give us children the same opportunities that someone gave him.  Yes, he can.  We are the hope of the woman who hears that her city will not be rebuilt, that she cannot somehow claim the life that was swept away in a terrible storm.  Yes, she can. 

We are the hope of the future, the answer to the cynics who tell us our house must stand divided, that we cannot come together, that we cannot remake this world as it should be.  We know that we have seen something happen over the last several weeks, over the past several months.  We know that what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored, that will not be deterred, that will ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, make this time different than all the rest. 

Yes, we can!  Let’s go to work!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can! 

Thank you, Chicago.  Let’s go get to work.  I love you. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. 

A taste of what it’s like to be at an Obama event.  You saw it tonight.  This after midnight on the east coast and we’ve been getting results to bring in.  Starting in Montana tonight.  Here comes the big board.  Montana, the projected winner, Mitt Romney on the Republican side.  He’s carried Montana, The caucuses.  Another one in Montana, there it is again.  He’s carried it.  Mitt Romney, the winner in Montana.

In Tennessee, Huckabee dominating the Deep South, dominating the Bible belt.  Mike Huckabee, another big win for him tonight.  He JUST keeps winning where he was supposed to be the blocking back.

Let’s take a look at Colorado.  On the Democratic side, Barack Obama, another caucus state, a big win for him.  Substantial win for him.  Barack Obama in Colorado.  Too close to call in California.  The big enchilada.  We’ve been waiting for that.  We’ll state waiting for that.  McCain and Romney still too close to call on the Republican fight in the primary in California.

In Missouri, too close to call on the Republican side between McCain and Mike Huckabee, his challenger there.  It just keeps going to fights tonight.  California, too close to call on the Democratic side, as well as, on the Republican side between Hillary Clinton, who was heavily favored out there just a few weeks ago.

Let’s go to Missouri right now.  Another state that just won’t give tonight.  Too close to call.  Missouri and California, hanging on tonight, too close to call on the Democratic side.  Hillary Clinton trying to hold that state.  It’s amazing tonight.  I must say it is so hard to declare, Keith, a winner tonight, except to say the candidates on the Democratic side have held their own.  New Jersey did budge and go to Hillary and held on there.  But no big surprise on the Democratic side, really.

If you look at the projections who were laid out to us by our resident expert, Chuck Todd, days—in fact weeks ago, he’d seen how it was going to turn out tonight.

On the Republican side, the big surprise.  It has to be a profoundly unhappy result for Mitt Romney.  The southern states, the Bible belt states that he was hoping to compete in—he’s no longer even a competitor.  In turns out that the battle was between McCain and the superior forces of Mike Huckabee.  The man who was the third man in this race has become the second man in this race.  That’s the big development tonight.

On the Republican side, it looks like a battle now as it continues into the twilight between John McCain, who keeps winning in states.  Republicans don’t normally win in general elections.  You have to wonder about that.  And Mike Huckabee, who keeps winning in states Republicans always carry.  Amazing development tonight.

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Well, the other amazing development, obviously, as we wait and figured we wouldn’t have California decided by this point, we could conceivably have something out of California before we have something out of Missouri in either race.

MATTHEWS:  You know more than you say, sir.

OLBERMANN:  No, I do not.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think we’re getting close to something like in California. 

It is still too close to call in California.

OLBERMANN:  But look at the Missouri numbers again.  Look at the difference in Missouri in the Democratic race with 97 percent of the vote in.  They’re 3,211 votes apart.

MATTHEWS:  And that’s been called the classic American state.  If its there to call any state, the truly American state.  It has Kansas City.  It has St. Louis.  It has southern, northern, eastern, western elements to it.

OLBERMANN:  It has Republicans who are 7,000 votes apart.

MATTHEWS:  Another case there in Missouri for the Republicans.  It is always a tough state.  It has a unique political history.  Not to go back to the history.  It’s the only state that voted for Ike, the Great War hero in ‘52, and then voted to boot him out in ‘56.  So you can’t quite figure Missouri.  It is the show me state and it’s waiting to be shown.

OLBERMANN:  (INAUDIBLE) just made the difference in ‘56 for them.

MATTHEWS:  I think it was Harry Truman with one last swat at the Republicans.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Let’s bring back NBC’s Tom Brokaw as we look at Missouri and California and the Obama speech and before that the McCain speech.  Before the McCain speech gets out of our memory, there was this presumably unintentional moment by Senator McCain when he offered his congratulations to Governor Romney and there was a two or three bit pause where nobody in that room said nothing.  You could hear the cameras humming in the back.

TOM BROKAW, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  And he also acknowledged that it’s been pretty hard between the two of them for the last couple of weeks, which it has been.  And of course, tonight is a night that he can be gracious to Mitt Romney because Mitt Romney didn’t show up much on the scoreboard tonight.  When you were saying just a moment ago, Chris, that there had been no big surprises yet, I don’t think we can say that with California and Missouri still outstanding.

We’ll find out what happens in California.  Senator Clinton had a big lead going in a couple of months ago.  We’ve all believed that it was tightening in the last couple of weeks.  There’s been an enormous effort on the part of Senator Obama out there.  This one could end up very close.  I think, the big picture at the end of the night is that the race goes on from here.

We’ll have an accounting of the delegates tomorrow, but there will be a lot of talk about momentum as well and taking the wider universe of how many votes were cast per which candidate and then they will try to leverage that in the states that are still upcoming and there remains a possibility that for the first time, really, since 1976, we could have a convention in which you’re going to have to put together enough delegates to win and you may have to do it that week.

1976, of course, was on the Republican side when Ronald Reagan challenged a sitting president, Gerald Ford, who had gotten the presidency because of the resignation of Richard Nixon during Watergate.  So that remains an open possibility.

We have days and weeks to go.  Senator Clinton has already said this week that she would like to have one debate a week, for the next four weeks, thinking that will keep her in the hunt obviously.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, boy.  We’ve all participated and I think most people at home have now moderated one as well.  One more thing on the Republican side, Tom, did we pull the turf up over Governor Romney too quickly?  Because when we were talking about him last, it was the places he used to live and/or Romney in one place.  And since that it’s been North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, not that they’re huge delegate totals or overwhelmingly impressive trophies to put on there, but it gives him on the night at least a numerical tie with Governor Huckabee and he’s right behind McCain.

Is there some life in the Romney candidacy that we were not seeing an hour ago?

BROKAW:  Well, there would be a lot of life in the Romney candidacy if he wins California, and that remains a possibility obviously.  And I’m sure that they’re keeping very close focus on that at this hour.  That’s a decision that he’ll have to make.  Yes, I think we have to be a little careful in counting him out.  Because as I said a few moments ago, what we have on the Republican Party is the Humpty Dumpy factor.  Who’s going to put this all back together again.

It’s going to take all the king’s horses and all the king’s men and it’s going to take some good will on the part of the candidates.  I heard, Chris, say that Haley Barber has said we’ve got to get behind somebody.  That’s much easier said than done under these circumstances, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Let’s look at—yes, I think it is on the Republican.  I’m

looking at the Democratic side, look at the three factors that may be

continuing along a pattern here.  One is the fund-raising machine of a

the surprising fund raising capacity of Barack Obama using the web basically, the Internet to go out and raise money from people who have never given a nickel before and hardly any of them are maxed out.  As we say, they’re well below.

Then you look at the—he we go.  We got news.  A Democratic winner of setting any conversation until now.  Here we have a winner.  Coming in Cal—Hillary Clinton has won California and that I think was the goal to end the evening certainly for her.  It was the goal for Obama, but clearly, Tom Brokaw, we got a winner in California.  A cap to the evening.  I expect Terry McGoff (ph) will be out tonight with the valley who voice, claiming that they have won the night.

BROKAW:  Well, this is going to be a big night of a spin.  We were saying going into Super Tuesday that we should know who the nominees are going to be at the end of this evening.  But once again, in all of our conventional and collective wisdom, we were wrong.  The fact of the matter is, it goes on from here.  It must be an enormous sigh of relief in the Clinton campaign as they did win in California.  They were well organized out there for a long time.

Obama made a real run at it, in the last couple of weeks, going directly after the Latino vote.  This is going to be a big relief, obviously, to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.  Senator Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco.  They were all in the Clinton camp.

And the big question was, would younger, more generational voters swarm to the Obama camp with Maria Shriver, the first lady here, our former colleague here coming out for Obama.  Caroline Kennedy, campaigning up and down to see.  Then Senator Ted Kennedy going out there as well.

It’s not been a great night for Senator Kennedy.  I must say.  He made a big, big effort in California.  He loses in his home state of Massachusetts as did Senator Kerry with their alignment with the Obama campaign.  They lose both those states to Senator Hillary Clinton.

OLBERMANN:  But Tom, regarding those delegates again, and obviously the Obama people will come back if the numbers are favorable to them and the Clinton people will double their emphasis on California if the numbers are favorable to them.  With the apportionment process in California, with 241 of them being proportional by district and 129 of the delegates being proportional by state totals, the absolute measure of that victory for Hillary Clinton is really not ascertainable until we get the full count in, correct?

BROKAW:  Yes.  May I just read to you, even in our guide for our ourselves—it seems to me that its quantum physics in California.  15 percent threshold, 241 proportional by county of which there are 54.  OK, go ahead.

OLBERMANN:  Tom, I’m going to interrupt you because we have another—we have California projection.  That is John McCain’s California Republican victory has been projected by NBC News.  The early vote count at 15 percent was suggesting it.  But it is a considerable margin, given the three-horse race that is there.  44 percent at 15 percent vote is in.  That John McCain and Hillary Clinton are the winners in California.  We are not staying up all night for this.  The victory too McCain projected by NBC News at this time.

MATTHEWS:  By coastal power tonight for McCain.

BROKAW:  And that is not a state, by the way, Chris, that has the Atlantic Ocean anywhere on it.  You still live there.  Nowhere near it.

Now, you know, the great line in California is, Chris, when the big earthquake comes, California will remain stable.  The rest of the country will slide into the Atlantic (INAUDIBLE).  And tonight, the rest of the country has slid into the Atlantic for Mitt Romney.

It seems to me that it will be hard for him to survive this, having lost in California by what appears to be a pretty substantial margin, given the amount of money that he spent there and the effort that he made there.  But when John McCain got the endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger and began to go up and down the state without spending quite as much money as Romney.

OLBERMANN:  And one more, Tom, the apparent winner, that’s our terminology in Missouri, is John McCain.  This is a big five minutes for the senator from Arizona.  That’s our terminology.  Our NBC News terminology because 98 percent of the vote is in and he leads Governor Huckabee by what is that, just over 8,500 votes.  8,515 -- Am I doing my math at this hour, correctly?

BROKAW:  Yes, that’s right.

OLBERMANN:  8515 - 98 percent in and it seems to be a mathematical impossibility for the leadership to change.  Thus that phraseology, apparent winner in Missouri, in an extraordinarily tight race.  So we give to John McCain, Missouri and California, and that certainly eliminates any prospect that this night would end with anybody but John McCain in the leadership of the Republican Party.

BROKAW:  And the number two man in the race appears to be Mike Huckabee at this point, which is really important.

MATTHEWS:  What are you making?  This is such a hard conversation, Tom, for anybody to have.  But, you know, I think about it a lot.  Could it be that we have to admit that religion has played a role in this campaign, that Romney has run a strong campaign.  He’s done pretty well in arguing his cases about tax cuts and etcetera.  But when it comes to the cultural front, he has come up against a wall in the Bible Belt.

It seems to me that Mike Huckabee, who has not run a dominant campaign, but he’s been able to win in his region, his background.  He’s a southern Baptist.  It seems like for whatever reason, people in the south and evangelical areas have voted with Huckabee pretty clearly against the LDS candidate.

BROKAW:  That makes sense to me.  I mean, he’s a former Baptist preacher.  He led the Baptist Convention in his home state when he was just 27 years of age.  He speaks to them in terms of his beliefs, about his faith in God and the place of the bible and Christianity in the lives of everyday people.

I think the tougher question would be if he had not been in this race, what would have happened to Mitt Romney with the Mormon background.  In fact, most of the polls show that a lot of people were still having trouble with someone from the LDS church being the president of the United States and he was never able to overcome that obstacle, especially with the southern evangelicals, but with other people as well.  Whatever their faith happened to be.

MATTHEWS:  And then, of course, the man in the first presidency, Gordon Hinckley in the LDS Church dying this week and Romney, so loyally going out and paying his respects in a way that highlighted his religious faith.  You know, we’re going to have to look at this as we get to the autopsy of this campaign but I really do think Romney is going to have to look at it, when he thinks about a second effort.  Whether it’s something that he can resolve—he can resolve in the hearts of the people he stand against him.  Don’t you think it’s a tough challenge for him to decide this thing?

BROKAW:  Well, I think it is.  We’ll wait and see what he decides.  He wants to do about this cycle and then whether he wants to go on in the next one.  But he’s now introduced himself to the country and the question is, he’ll have to make a hard decision about how he wants to present act two of Mitt Romney, if you will, as a presidential candidate.

I think it has to happen on two fronts for him.  One is the LDS front and the other one is to demonstrate to people that he is an authentic conservative, not just a conservative of convenience during campaign years.

MATTHEWS:  What do you make about John McCain’s thinking tonight?  I mean, you know, and we all know he’s on so many of our programs.  We’ve gotten to know him over the years as a person and yet, he’s such a fighter.  He’s such a force.  Always triumph of his will, he’s gotten this far.

And yet, he does have to confront a Republican Party he looks out on tonight.  It has chosen Huckabee over him in the Bible Belt area, that has in some cases chosen Romney, although Romney is in a very difficult situation now.  There just seems to be a big wall of resistance to him in the party, a maverick in the Teddy Roosevelt fashion, if you want to make him look more popular that he is among some Republicans.  Isn’t that a challenge for him now?

BROKAW:  That’s true and it’s not true.  I mean, look at this colleagues

who have spoken up for him.  The Jack Kemp of the world and Bob Dole

writing that letter to Rush Limbaugh.  I think he’s probably going to

have to use some surrogates and fan them out across the country and say

look, at some point, we have to decide in the words of Haley Barber about who we’re going to back here, and I would guess that that would be part of the strategy of John McCain.

When I said to him this morning, when I saw him on the “Today” show, I kind of laugh and said John, you really are a warrior.  I didn’t call him, John.  I called him senator.  And he looked at me and he smiled and said I’m a happy warrior now, Tom.  I’m on my way.  And that’s kind of who he is.  And I think he has conveyed after the rush of the party.

He did offend a lot of people, as you know, by putting together the gang of 14 on the Hill, banging away at his Senate colleagues for the way they spent money as he described it like drunken sailors.  But at some point, there is a reality that he could very well be their nominee and they’re going to have to decide whether they want to walk away from him or make an effort to hang on to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

OLBERMANN:  But the reference to the happy warrior, as I was just saying in some where Senator Humphrey would like to reply, but we don’t have the means of doing that.  Tom, stand by for a second.  We’re bringing David Gregory in on this, too.

That moment of silence in the middle of the McCain speech when he invoked Governor Romney’s name, Chris, pointed out and I wonder what you’re thoughts were, that that may have been the olive branch from McCain to Romney saying here’s the soft landing, governor, if you would like to take it.  What do you think?

DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, well—and I think that one of the things that we’ve seen tonight is the prospect for Governor Huckabee in what still may be a fight for second place with Mitt Romney by the time the contest is over in terms of delegates.  But in terms of regional appeal, in terms of his performance among, conservatives especially in the southern part, that he becomes part of the solution for John McCain to unite the party.

As Republican today said that’s one of the three directions that McCain can take, to actually unite the party, which is to choose a running mate which can shore up some of these concerns on the right.  That so many have with John McCain.

Nevertheless, we saw Mitt Romney, particularly in the western states, the rocky mountain west and California with so much emphasis there, on the part of his campaign doing well with conservatives.  But by the end of the night, we see John McCain winning the big contest here in a very commanding position.

OLBERMANN:  The jury is still out for the Missouri Democrats.  We’re still waiting on that one.  We have projected Hillary Clinton to win in California, David, and that’s with—that being so close in Missouri and certainly not decisive in terms of momentum.  They’re both Clinton and Obama are clearly going to claim as now Barack Obama has a whopping 4,600 vote lead with 98 percent of the vote in, in Missouri.  They’re both going to claim momentum.  Who has the right to claim more momentum coming out of Super Tuesday?

GREGORY:  Well, that’s going to be something that will be debated.  And two sides will spin this.  I think you can look across the board and say where were the surprises tonight?  Connecticut went for Barack Obama.  That was a surprise.  But you have to say Hillary Clinton held her ground in some of the key areas.  Look at California.  The Hispanic vote, the Latino vote.  Tom, has been out there reporting on this extensively.

Very high, higher than the statewide average, I think 26 percent.  You also had lower than expected African-American turnout.  It’s about average from what it’s been in California.  So she held that ground.  We want to see how New Mexico comes in.  That’s where the Latino vote is important as well.  She held that ground and this momentum that Barack Obama seemed to have had of late certainly didn’t overcome Clinton’s advantages in states like Massachusetts and New Jersey and California.

You look at the exit polling.  A lot of people voted early.  A lot of people made up their mind a long time ago, before we saw this movement on the Obama side.

MATTHEWS:  I think you have to look at the polling, everybody, that’s been going on now for a couple of weeks where there’s a tightening of dramatic proportions of Hillary Clinton enjoying, something like a 20 vote, 20-point advantage over Barack Obama just a couple of weeks ago and watching that shrink to basically nothing as we speak right now, in most of the polling within the margin of error right now.

And you have to wonder whether her ability to claim that she held her ground tonight and carried California, which is a significant victory for her—a triumph, in fact, against the challenge by Barack Obama.  If that’s enough to sort of thwart what seems to be a serial trend, a continual trend towards Barack Obama of the last several months.

David Gregory, it just seems to me that that’s something that, you know, the old rule of physics is something remains in motion unless operated on by some outside force—was tonight an outside force that could thwart, that serial trend towards Obama, not just in fundraising and not just in enthusiasm of crowds, but in the national polling?

GREGORY:  Well, if he has the ability with enough money to make this a war of attrition and to keep a real fight going for delegates, then maybe he can build on whatever he’s been building over the past few days.  But certainly, at the tactical level, what’s Hillary Clinton do, she has pointed out, she wants to have more debates coming up.  She wants to drill home what the contrast is in this contest.  And then she looks ahead to Latino vote in states like Texas coming up on March 4th where she has got, a kind of built an advantage.

Poll—I think debates can influence the trend lines.  There’s no doubt about it.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Thank you, Tom Brokaw.  Thank you David Gregory.  We’ll check back with you again in the immediate future.  Up next, more from the exit polling on why Californians voted for Hillary Clinton.  Our projected winner there among the Democrats.  Plus, we continue to await results in the remarkably tight Missouri Democratic primary.  Also, the Colorado Republican caucus.  You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday, except it’s already Wednesday here on the East Coast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  So the latest headlines out of Super Tuesday turning into Super Tuesday plus on Wednesday in the east.  John McCain is going to win California among the Republicans.  He is the apparent winner in Missouri in an extraordinarily tight race that is mirrored by an extraordinarily tight race among the Democrats that we have not yet called at 98 percent of the vote with Obama slightly ahead.

The California verdict, which some thought would keep us up all night has been declared by NBC News.  Hillary Clinton will win California.  The early vote totals suggested substantially and again the Democrats not yet called in Missouri.  That’s the late big one there.  Several still in play.  But now we’re getting developments out of the Romney campaign tonight in Boston.  A crucial night for the Romney campaign.  And some breaking news out of NBC’s John Yang who has been covering all night.

John?

JOHN YANG, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, this has been a crucial night and a disappointing night for the Romney campaign.  Those last two calls that NBC made, losing California, losing Missouri, are big blows to this campaign.  And now a senior campaign official has told NBC News that tomorrow will be a day of frank discussions on the campaign.  Mr. Romney was already scheduled to be in the headquarters office here in Boston for a day of meetings and now those meetings have taken on new significance.  This official tells NBC News that the Thursday speech before C-PAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee, is still on the schedule.  But a visit to Kansas on Friday ahead of caucuses there on Saturday is now in doubt.

So Keith, they say that they are going to have some serious discussions tomorrow about the future of this campaign.

OLBERMANN:  John Yang on frank discussions at the Romney camp in Boston.  Thanks much, John.  Let’s get the exit polling.  Ann Curry is checking our late waves of exit polling.  Ann, good morning.

ANN CURRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good morning.  Thanks so much, Keith.  We’ve got significant new numbers now that might have explained Hillary Clinton’s win in California.  Our polling found that women made up 55 percent of all Democratic primary voters and among those women, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a double digit victory.  Take a look at this, she won 57 percent of Democratic women, compared to Obama’s 39 percent.

Obama also had the male Democratic vote in California, but by a smaller margin.  Clinton also won a majority of Hispanic voters, with 65 percent to 34 percent for Barack Obama.  Remember, the Hispanics are considered a key to victory not only in California but also in November.

We also have numbers that might have explained John McCain’s victory.  Remember that Republicans in California are much more moderate than in other states.  McCain took those moderates by a large margin today, according to our polling.  And in addition, as you know, he has the support of California’s popular Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  By two thirds of California voters, 65 percent approve of the job that the governor is doing.  And among those who approve of the job the governor is doing, John McCain won with 49 percent to Mitt Romney’s 29 percent.

So these have been very big prizes tonight for both John McCain and Hillary Clinton, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Indeed they have, Ann.  Great thanks.  Now to our panel.  Norah O’Donnell, who is taking over there.  We’ve got two topics for you.  You can pick where you want to go; frank discussions, which is not the name of a Romney adviser, or California Hispanics, 65-34, Clinton.  Your choice.

NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I choose to start with frank discussions.  The panel agrees here.  Let’s talk about the state of the Republican race.  Clearly a big win in California for John McCain.  I have been speaking with people close to the Romney campaign, who said we may win California.  With Huckabee winning the south, we can still fight on.

John Yang reporting tonight that they’re going to be frank discussions tomorrow.  Pat Buchanan, does this mean the race is going to get much smaller on the Republican side tomorrow?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  My guess would be that he’s not going to pull out.  After all, he won Montana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, maybe Colorado and North Dakota.

O’DONNELL:  But he lost Missouri and California.

BUCHANAN:  He lost Missouri, Georgia, West Virginia and California. 

Those are very big where he thought he might do well.

O’DONNELL:  Someone said to me, you cannot win the Republican nomination without winning the south, or Romney can’t claim to be the true conservative without winning in the south.

BUCHANAN:  But Huckabee has won all the south, but he’s only got one more state to win down there, Mississippi.  It’s all gone.  The question is, can he, if he gets the ultimate one on one with McCain he’s wanted, can he do well when McCain is beating him in Missouri and McCain is beating him in California?  And should he go on and do that?

My own feeling is that Romney sees himself not only as a potential candidate this year, a long shot now, but a potential candidate four years from now.  If you are, then you stop going tough and rough and you may continue on, but you pull down any negative ads and you try to consolidate the conservatives behind you.  Go into the convention, endorse, get a major speech, something like that, and see what happens.

Clearly there’s bad blood between Romney and the McCain forces.

O’DONNELL:  Do you think McCain is going to allow Romney to speak at his convention?

BUCHANAN:  If you don’t allow him, that would be an act of total stupidity, somebody who’s got the support.  And when McCain is disliked as he is by conservatives, to stiff someone at your own convention—

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  You can’t bring in Mitt Romney to prove your own bona fides to conservatives.  Mitt Romney has a lot of his own baggage in terms of not seeming like a real conservative.  What does Mitt Romney have to offer the electorate at this point?

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  You don’t offer the electorate anything.  You offer McCain—you say I’m going to endorse you and I work for you and I’ll work for the party and all you get is a speech at the convention?  That’s a very small price to ask.

MADDOW:  His endorsement comes with like, what, his sons will work on his campaign?

O’DONNELL:  Gene, the headline in the newspaper is going to be John McCain wins on both coasts.  Is he unstoppable?

EUGENE ROBINSON, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I don’t see who stops him at this point.  It’s not quite over yet, simply because the Republican party is so split this year and John McCain is such a controversial figure.  And, you know, as Pat was saying, a lot of the conservatives aren’t yet ready to swallow hard and accept John McCain.  Until that happens, you can’t say it’s really over.

MADDOW:  How many conservatives are popping pills tonight, going to bed with Ambien or Tums for heart burn?

BUCHANAN:  What McCain ought to do, too—he made a mistake in getting up there and coming right back in Romney’s face.  Act like a front runner.  Let him take the heat.  Let him drop it on you.  OK, fellows, I understand the angst, the concern.  But he’s still fighting.

ROBINSON:  That’s John McCain.

MADDOW:  He did make some nice noises toward Mitt Romney here.  In terms of the issues and in terms of what this means outside the horse race, I think Republicans and the pundit world made a big mistake when we decided it was going to be Mitt Romney that was going to get the votes of people who cared about economic issues because he was a guy who had a lot of money, personally.  It turns out that on economic issues, maybe a lot of Republicans wanted to vote for Mike Huckabee.  Maybe Mitt Romney—

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  You got to raise the Mormon thing.  One problem he had is McCain and Romney were at each other and that opened the door in Georgia and places like that for Huckabee.  But you got to ask yourself, why in some of these other cases didn’t these southerners move to Romney and I got to think you’re going to have to poll deeply on the Mormon thing in the south.

MADDOW:  I think you got to look at the attacks made against Romney on the economic issue.  That was his big strength.  When he said, I’m in the real economy, I’m in the real American economy, I’ve worked; a lot of people said, private equity, Bane Capital, really?  Is that the real economy?  It’s not the one I feel like I’m suffering in.

O’DONNELL:  We’re going to wrap it up.  But we still have a lot to talk about on the Democratic side, because Hillary Clinton has scored two big victories tonight, California, New York, the two richest states.  And we’re still waiting on Missouri.

MADDOW:  Missouri is looking really tight.

O’DONNELL:  So we’ll go back to Chris and Keith.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you Norah.  In a moment, we’ll give you a full look at the delegate count as best we can count it up at this point in the evening.  But first, let’s go to two of the warring sides on the Democratic side.  Jay Carson is a traveling press secretary with Senator Clinton’s campaign.  And Senator Claire McCaskill herself is backing Barack Obama.

Senator McCaskill, it’s very hard not to see something like a tie tonight.  How do you see it?

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI:  I think a tie, but the tie goes to Barack Obama.  I mean, this was supposed to be over tonight.  This was a foregone conclusion.  The idea that we’re talking about Hillary Clinton winning New York and California as news says a whole lot.  Missouri, as you can see, is still very, very close.  I believe there’s a decent chance that, as Missouri usually does, will decide it late.  But I think he’s going to overcome a 13-point lead like a week ago to win Missouri.

It is a remarkable journey Barack Obama is on on behalf of the American people.

MATTHEWS:  Jay Carson, is it true your campaign thought you could wrap it up tonight?

JAY CARSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY:  No, I think no one thought we would wrap it up tonight as of six weeks ago.  Everyone knew this race was going to be tightening.  And I seem to remember reading a lot of clips yesterday and even this morning about an unstoppable surge in momentum that we would not be able to overcome.  We won a lot of the states we were supposed to lose today.  And I think Hillary Clinton is a lot closer to the nomination tonight than she was this morning when we woke up.  A broad coalition of voters across the country.  We have won a lot of places.  We’ve had a great night and we feel great about it.

MATTHEWS:  What do you make of the national polling numbers, Jay, that seem to be moving relentlessly toward Obama, if you look at it over time?

CARSON:  Well, I will just say, we always knew this race was going to be tight.  We have been saying for a long time that we thought the nomination would be much tougher than the general election.  That’s proven to be true, but we feel great about where we are.  We knew it was going to be close.  What’s important is who we’re winning and who has the most delegates.  And we feel great how we’ve done tonight.

MATTHEWS:  Smart to say that.  Let’s take a look.  We’ve got a call right now on the Republican side.  Mitt Romney has won in Colorado tonight, another victory for Romney, perhaps not a big enough victory.  Let me go right back now to Claire McCaskill.  Senator, thank you for sticking with us.  Let me ask you about the future course of this campaign.  Give me the case why all we know tonight, as of right now, and all that happened before tonight, says that your candidate is going to win the Democratic nomination for president, Barack Obama.

MCCASKILL:  Well, the American people are just getting acquainted with the depths of his intellect, with the soaring vision he has for how we can be admired in the world again, and, frankly, the young people.  Chris, this is real, what’s going on in our country.  The young people signing up in droves, believing in participation again.  This is a unique opportunity for our country, and we would really—it would be a terrible shame to miss this opportunity.

The next six primaries I think really favor Barack Obama.  So for the next two weeks I think he’s going to continue to build steam and momentum.  The American people are going to get more familiar with him.  And they love the independent voter.  Missouri is all about the independent voter.

MATTHEWS:  OK, we have to jump in.  I have good news for you, Senator McCaskill.  It looks like that—NBC now is calling your candidate, Barack Obama, the winner in your state, apparent winner, meaning we haven’t gotten all the numbers in yet, but we’re using that category to describe I believe a victory—apparent victory for Barack Obama in Missouri.  We’ve only used it in one other case tonight.  Let me ask you, what does that mean to the campaign?

MCCASKILL:  It means a lot.  We usually win elections after midnight in Missouri.  They’re hard fought and close.  But it means—if you look at Kansas and Missouri and what’s happened and Nebraska on Saturday, this is middle America.  This isn’t, you know, the far coast.  This is the middle of America, both in terms of whether it’s located and their politics.  The fact that he’s doing so well in middle America speaks volumes as to how well he’s going to do as this race continues.

MATTHEWS:  Given the same news report from us, that we’re declaring Barack Obama the winner in the fight in Missouri tonight, Jay Carson, tell us—just give me, the same question, draw the picture based upon what we know from tonight and earlier from tonight, and looking down the road, how does Hillary Clinton win the nomination?

CARSON:  I think, for starters, Chris, the last I checked, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma are not exactly coastal states.  But we did win a lot of states on the coast, including New York, New Jersey and California, which had a lot of delegates.

Here’s the thing; the American people are answering two simple questions: who is going to be the best president and who can win in November?  They’re resoundingly answering those questions with Hillary Clinton, because they need a president.  This country is facing big challenges.  They can’t take a chance on someone who is not ready to lead on day one.  Senator Clinton is ready to lead on day one and that’s why we’re seeing people coming her way.

MATTHEWS:  Are you surprised that Barack Obama has unleashed the war in Iraq issue in the last several days, starting in the last debate?

CARSON:  You know, it is a foundation for his campaign, a speech that he gave in 2002, though he didn’t really act on it when he came to the Senate.  No, I’m not surprised.  I’m not surprised that he would go back to that and hammer us on it.  I would say that it’s an audacious attack, but it’s certainly not hopeful.  

MATTHEWS:  Keith?

OLBERMANN:  Senator McCaskill, one last question, just because I don’t know the last time I heard someone directly answer that construction from the Clinton campaign.  Is there an argument to be made here that Senator Obama would not be ready to go from day one as president of the United States?

CARSON:  Keith, I just say Senator Clinton is ready to lead on day one. 

There’s absolutely no question about that.

OLBERMANN:  Forgive me, Jay, I was asking Senator McCaskill that question.

MCCASKILL:  I think that—you know, I don’t agree with all of Ted Kennedy’s policies, but if there’s any one that’s in a position to pass judgment on who is ready to do the job, this is a man who has worked with more presidents than I’ve ever met in my life.  And he’s had a front row seat at the precipice of government.  He’s said to the country this man is ready.  He’s said, he’s ready on day one.  And more importantly, he has the right mindset and the right judgment on day one.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much for joining us, Jay Carson.  OK, we’re now declaring Alaska.  Hold on everyone.  Barack Obama has won in Alaska.  At that moment, we will let both Jay Carson go for the night and Senator McCaskill go.  Another victory for Barack Obama in Alaska tonight.  And once again, an apparent winner there, Alaska.

Any way, when we return, the latest on the delegate count, which we’ve been really trying to get together tonight.  Chuck Todd will join us right now to try to put together the significance of all these state calls we’ve been giving you hour by hour since early this evening.  What do they add up to?  It’s about delegates.  We’ll give you that report when we come back.  So don’t go to bed yet.  This is MSNBC’s live coverage of Super Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Barack Obama, the apparent winner in Missouri.  We’ve used that term twice tonight, both in Missouri or Missouri, depending on which half of the state you’re in at the moment.  This is not so much political projections, not so much exit polls, but simple mathematics and logic.  There are so many votes already officially counted, 98 percent in among the Democrats, that the odds against, say, the next or the last 5,000 or 6,000 votes going for one candidate are astronomical.

This is a mathematical—OK, I’ve explained this too much, haven’t I.  Two percent to go, Obama is ahead.  We’re saying it is a virtual victory already.  So that’s the way the Democratic field looks tonight.  We are awaiting the Democratic results from New Mexico and the Republican results from Alaska.  Everything else is already in the books as Super Tuesday got right to it, comparatively speaking, given that it’s only 47 minutes past 9:00 Pacific time.

Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director, has been in front of the delegate count all night.  And this is, although this is not the glamour yay, win the pennant, throw the flag around kind of thing that the candidates and their spokesmen have been saying all night, this is what counts, Chuck.  What’s the latest?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  It’s interesting.  We’re basically waiting on final counts out of two states with the estimates.  That’s New Mexico and California.  New Mexico, they had a bunch of weather problems, throw in the fact that apparently they ran out of ballots.  It’s going to take all night before we figure out New Mexico, but it appears to be close and we think we have an idea.

So before I got into those counts, the question was, where did it stand?  And Obama had approximately 659 delegates to Hillary Clinton’s 623.  So the question is, what was he going—what was Clinton going to need to sort of win this idea, where she could win the most delegates for the night and really what’s going to happen coming out of California?  The Obama people believe she’s going to net no more than 15.  The Clinton people say, uh-uh, that’s not right.  We’re going to net anywhere from 29 to 34.

Well, I had a little fun with this and I did the math and I gave the Clintons their 34.  I split New Mexico 14/12 in favor of Obama.  He seems to win all these semi-caucus states.  It’s going to be very close.  He split it 14/12.  That gives me for the night, guys, 841 for Obama, 837 for Clinton.  So that’s the delegate split that we’re looking at and it could be literally right down the middle.

It’s at a knife’s edge, depending on how well does Clinton do in Los Angeles; does she win some delegate splits in some Latino districts by bigger numbers than they expected?  It really depends on a lot.  The Obama people really believe that they are going to end up with the delegate lead tonight.  But come on, when you’re doing this—and trust me, I think I have my own margin of error here—it ended up a split—we’re going to have a split decision tonight.  Throw in the super delegates.  Clinton has an advantage there.  She’s going to come out tomorrow and say I’m leading in the fight for delegates.

OLBERMANN:  What is the plus or minus in your calculations?

TODD:  The plus or minus at this point, at this point, because of California, is probably 10 on either side.  It depends on—like I said, the Obama people believe they’re going to get as much as 176.  They will hold Clinton under 200 delegates out of California.  The Clinton people obviously believe they are going to get over 200.  We’ll see.  So I think that’s where my big margin of error in this comes in.

Still, OK, go to ten, 847-831.  This was still a split decision tonight.  It really did split right down the middle.  They split the swing states, Connecticut and Missouri going in Obama’s direction.  California and Arizona going in Clinton’s direction.  It’s Pennsylvania April 22nd.  Indiana is May 6th.  Get ready for Indiana.  North Carolina is in May.  So, hey—

OLBERMANN:  Don’t forget Denver, that little polling they might do in Denver.

TODD:  Democrats abroad, the Clinton campaign was saying they actually did phone banking from America Samoa tonight.  They’re hoping to get a two to one split out of there.  So every delegate matters.

OLBERMANN:  So there’s the Chuck Todd number tonight, plus four. 

Thanks, Chuck.

TODD:  I thought it would be helpful.

OLBERMANN:  It is guidance.  “Newsweek’s” Howard Fineman at our listening post in Washington.  One number that is not plus four, Howard, money from here on in.  Maybe you want to give us the latest on the war chest and the dollars and the groan in coffers.

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  Before I do, can I just say, that was a tour de force by Chuck.  That is the hardest thing in the world to do.  That’s where it’s at.

But money is also where it’s at.  Obama’s advantage in fund-raising is going to continue.  I think they’re on target, they tell me, to raise as much money in February as they did in January, which could be another 30 million dollars.  And they think they’ve got Hillary Clinton where they want her because of that financial advantage.  Because in the states that are coming up, Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington—Chuck knows the list—then the Potomac Primary next week, then Wisconsin and on down the line, the Obama people are going to have a chance with their financial advantage to buy advertising, to put volunteers in those states, to really organize and focus in a way that in this giant Super Tuesday they could not.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, somebody like Mike Huckabee, who is flat broke, and as others were saying is flying coach and so forth.  I’m told that today he had a day-long—his staff had a day long meeting with some real fat cats.  They’re actually knocking on Huckabee’s door right now.  He’s going to have some big funders out of Texas and Florida and he’s going to have some real money.  He raised about 300,000, which is huge money for him, yesterday, probably 500,000 dollars today, based on these results.

So now, with Mitt Romney looking seriously at the possibility of closing his own wallet, maybe even closing shop, it’s Huckabee who is going to get some cash to continue in whatever kind of fight he wants to bring against John McCain in the next few weeks.

OLBERMANN:  This begs the question about tonight and Super Tuesday and all the trends that we’re suggesting that Obama, as he did in many places, even the ones he did not win, closed considerable gaps.  We’ll go back to our favorite bone of contention, Massachusetts, where he was polling at 22 percent before something interested happened, and then he finishes at 40 percent tonight.

How much time can you buy with how much money?  Clearly, whatever that incredible monetary advantage was, 32 million to 13.5 or so for Clinton in January, it did not buy enough time in all these critical places tonight where Barack Obama did not vault Hillary Clinton and was able to hold up the prize and say, look, I have taken this—I drink your milkshake, to use the quote from “There Will Be Blood.”

How much time can you buy with how much money?

FINEMAN:  You can buy them especially in the smaller states.  What Obama’s strategy was tonight or today was to use his financial advantage and his organizational grassroots advantage.  They’ve got their own self-made terrific organization, to focus on these smaller state and caucus states, where some money and some organization from the grassroots up can really get you delegates.

They ended up winning the majority of the states tonight.  They won 13 states.  And they get a lot of delegates out of it.  Now, you spread that out across the country in some of these individual states, where they’re spaced out four, five, six days at a time, Obama can pursue that same strategy state by state and place by place.  And, they’re right, generally speaking, where he has time to get in front of the people, where he has time to advertise and to do the phone banking, he comes on.  He comes on strong.  That’s what their strategy is.  That’s what the strategy in the Obama has been all along.  That’s what they’re going to pursue right now.

We’ve kind of shifted back and forth tonight between looking at Obama’s advantages to looking at Hillary holding serve, as Gene Robinson said earlier.  I think that was true.  I think, in the end, if you look at this, if you look at it carefully, Obama is a in quite a good position to take advantage of the next month or so.  It’s going to be grinding.  It’s going to be day by day and dollar by dollar, but he has a chance to take the delegate lead in pledged delegates, if he doesn’t already have it tonight, as a result of the vote.

MATTHEWS:  This could look, Howard, like Bobby Kennedy, if you projected his destiny, if he had not been assassinated, right through 1968 at the convention.  Everyone our age used to say, he’ll go to Chicago and he’ll beat Humphrey in Chicago.  But yet he was fighting on behalf of delegates won in primaries against delegates won in machines in back room—smoke filled rooms.  Can Barack Obama get these Super Delegates to vote the way their states voted?

FINEMAN:  Well, that’s possible.  Right now, Hillary has an advantage of 80 or 90 among the Super Delegates.  Don’t forget that all members of Congress, Democrats in Congress, are super delegates.  That’s about 225.  So he’s going to focus on them.  He’s going to focus on them.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman, great thanks.  We continue to await the results in the New Mexico caucus.  We’ll have much more right after this break.  Again, that Chuck Todd number, 841 projected delegates for Obama, 837 for Clinton.  Big night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEITH OLBERMANN, CO-HOST:  Super Tuesday is almost completely in the books and the big ones have gone, well, pretty much everybody.  If you thought it would be over tonight, it is not.  Keep your belts and your seat belts fastened for several weeks to come yet.  Let’s go run the table.

From the Democrats, first, California.  This is projected to be Hillary Clinton’s victory and the early percentages with the pep to the vote in suggested, it will be a large one in a heavy 370-delegate state.  In New York, the other coast, Hillary Clinton is the projected winner and now were 1 percent away from that official and final about a 17 percent margin.

In Illinois, Barack Obama’s obviously home turf.  A double digit victory there, a doubling victory, almost 64 and 33 with 6 percent still to go among the Dems there.  New Jersey Democrats, this was fought over.  It was thought to be in play—it looks now like a Hillary Clinton 10 percent victory in New Jersey.  To Massachusetts, this, of course, the Kennedys, John Kerry, Governor Patrick all coming out for Senator Obama and the lead was narrowed considerably, Hillary Clinton still wins by 15 percent in Massachusetts.

In Georgia, the NBC News projection has been from the beginning of the evening, a thunderous victory for Barack Obama and a lot of delegates in that count, too.  It’s probably being 60-27, when that one is counted up officially.  Missouri, extraordinarily tight, both Missouri races, the Republicans and the Democrats, extraordinarily tight.  As you see, it will be several thousand votes.  Barack Obama is the projected winner now in Missouri.

In Minnesota, also, the victory there in a caucus with a two to one ratio for Senator Obama, one of his virtual home territories.  Tennessee tonight for the Democrats, 99 percent of the votes in, that one being given to Hillary Clinton early in the evening, in a 13-percent margin with almost all of the votes in.  Arizona is going to Senator Clinton, in a fairly tight race, but again, we have still one-third to count in Arizona among the Democrats.

Continuing through the Democrats in Alabama, Barack Obama with a significant win there with almost the entirety of the vote in, over 300,000 in the Democratic primary in Alabama.  Connecticut which was in play and certainly it turned out to be in play, Senator Obama with a 4 percent victory over Clinton with virtually the entire vote in.  In Oklahoma, a clean victory for Senator Clinton by 24 percent or more, that one is a final and we’ll just wait for the actual vote totals.  Arkansas, formerly the first lady of that state, Senator Clinton with a terrific and large victory over Senator Obama there.

Alaska, Senator Obama with, again, a marvelously large victory, the projection has suggest that but then you total up the number of votes here and perhaps it’s not as thunderous as it seems, 176 to 66.  It all counts.  Kansas is final and a significant victory for Senator Obama, again there, by 74 percent, essentially, three quarters of that vote with 2 percent outstanding.  Utah, as we continue to finish off the Democrats here, Senator Obama with a coasting victory in Utah with 8 percent still outstanding.

Idaho, the caucus there, again, he did very well in the caucus states throughout the west and Idaho, no exception.  Basically, 80 percent of that vote with 10 percent unreported.  Delaware, Senator Obama’s victory there over Senator Clinton with 100 percent of the vote in.  That one is a final.  And North Dakota, again, another caucus state in the near west -- 61 percent to 37 percent.

New Mexico is, at this point, too close to call or too early to call because only 1 percent of the votes is in.  Too early to call, that is the one to stay up and watch so that count right now among the Democrats is Obama 13 victories all told tonight, Hillary Clinton eight victories and one still outstanding in New Mexico.

For Republicans, it was John McCain’s night.  The major victories all went to him, including the big enchilada, sorry for the cliche, California is his.  Mitt Romney second there, one of his strongest finishes in head to head battles with McCain.  And Huckabee third.  In New York, also, John McCain by almost an identical margin with 99 percent of the vote in, McCain wins New York for the Republicans.

The Georgia Republicans, Mike Huckabee in an extraordinarily close vote that was a three-way race as you see.  It will end up just a few thousands separating these three candidates.  In Illinois, John McCain with a significant victory over Romney and Huckabee a distant third, that one with 6 percent of the votes still outstanding.  Arizona, John McCain’s own state that he has represented in the Senate for a quarter of a century and he wins by 13 percentage points with Huckabee taking 9 percent in third place.

Tennessee is almost all in, 99 percent and a sizeable win for Huckabee over McCain by 3 percent there.  Missouri, the other way around.  Again, it could not have been much closer than this with 1 percent left in a 8,000 vote victory for John McCain.  Romney, a somewhat distant third but still in the running there, somewhat distant being relative in that case.  New Jersey, no relativity required, Mr.  Einstein, McCain over Romney by nearly double.  In Colorado, Romney over McCain.  Romney field (ph) by nearly doubled with three-quarters of that votes still in.

The Alabama projected winner, with 99 percent in and almost n no chance of anything going wrong, one of his five big victories tonight.  Governor Huckabee of Arkansas.  Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney served one term as governor, preceding the current governor, 51 percent of the vote, only a 10-percent victory over McCain.  So, the two candidates not really thundering in their home states, McCain or Romney.

This is Minnesota, three-fourths of the votes are in and again, Mitt Romney a victor here.  Six big victories for Romney tonight.  Oklahoma, McCain in a tight battle with Huckabee there, that belt of support for Huckabee and Romney a strong third.  That vote is final.  Utah, 92 percent, that is Mitt Romney’s territory and it was all his.  This is the place, 225,000 in less than 15,000.  The Arkansas final, not there yet but it will be Huckabee, his own area, obviously governor of that state and a popular one while there, 60 percent of the vote in Arkansas for Mike Huckabee.

Connecticut almost complete and a McCain sweep over Romney.  A territorial loss for McCain—for Romney, if you will.  North Dakota, 100 percent of the vote in and Romney is the victor there handily over John McCain with Ron Paul showing up of the only time with one of the front leader boards.  And in Delaware, 100 percent now in.  That’s John McCain’s.

Alaska with 26 proportional delegates has not yet been assigned, characterized, we don’t have any vote totals.  We’re just waiting on Alaska.  So, there they are, the Democrats still in New Mexico to be decided.  Republicans in Alaska.  McCain with a large sweep of victories around the country in various locals.  Huckabee getting significant support in the south.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I guess what’s coming now is the side war over what really happened tonight.  I think we’re going to see a lot of claim and a lot of spin and a lot of flackery (ph), as we say in journalism from both sides.  Let’s go to the correspondence.  Let’s start cutting through some of that.

It’s coming, starting with David in Chicago at the Obama headquarters.

It just seems to me, David, you and I work together all the time, 13 wins tonight for Obama.  If you have said two weeks ago that California was going to be a tough call for Hillary, the states like Connecticut would be taken from her, it just seems to me that overtime it’s a big victory for Obama even though he didn’t quite blow her away tonight.

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENCE:  Now, Chris, I absolutely agree and I think the Obama campaign is elated with how this lead because all along, they have has said, look, if we can get a draw on Super Tuesday, if we can get close in the delegate counts, we can make this a war of attrition and with the financial ads that we have, we can start to wear Hillary Clinton down.

And the other thing that a draw does, Chris, is that freezes some of those delegates to superdelegates.  There are some 400 that are still out there, that have not committed yet.  It essentially freezes them in their tracks because they want to see now what’s going to happen now in Washington state and Louisiana and Nebraska and in Washington, D.C. and Virginia and Maryland.  These are all places where the Obama campaign is already running ads.  They believe the more time they can invest in these states, their numbers go up.  And they keep talking about Hillary Clinton being at a feeling.  So they are going back to a battle ground that they like and that at a couple of states at a time as opposed to having to deal with all 20 like they had to deal with today.

MATTHEWS:  So, it puts them in a position of winning perhaps most of the elected delegates and being able to argue as we get close to the end of the cycle, the end of this season, that how dare the superdelegates deny the likely delegates and their majority.

SHUSTER:  Yes, Chris, they can make the argument that, look, we did not get beaten badly on Super Tuesday.  We are very much alive and we’re starting to rise in the numbers of some of these states and what it essentially does is it freezes a lot of people in their tracks and expands this campaign to sort of the calendar that the Obama campaign believes is extremely favorable to them.

MATTHEWS:  While you’re out there, David, I want you to get Barack

Obama to come on Hardball in our studios in Washington

SHUSTER:  We’re trying, we are trying.

MATTHEW:  Well, he’s going to work Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. he ought to stop by trip, you know, a real visit, we’ll have some tea for him.  Perhaps, trumpets, we’ll have an hour for him.  Anyway, it would be nice for him to come by, anyway.  I mean that.  We’ll have to start using the stick to get some action here.  Any way, David, my friend, bring him in.  Anyway, thank you David Shuster.

And now to NBC’s Kevin Corke is covering the Clinton campaign in New York.  Kevin, how do we do this?  How do we decide whose side of war is winning here?  It looked to me if you look at the delegate count, a brilliant effort by our friend, Chuck Todd tonight.  I mean, look at how he  sliced the rate down, he was like swinging Todd right down the middle.  What do you make of that?

KEVIN CORKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK:  Well, it was kind of a weird night.  Let’s face it.  It’s almost as if there were like victory parties all over the place.  I mean Mike Huckabee was celebrating, John McCain was celebrating, Hillary Clinton was celebrating, Obama.  It was kind of a bizarre night, to be honest with you.

But I think here at least, campaign staffers for the Clinton campaign, they told me, look, we knew that as long as we were in the mix and places where we really focus, New York, California, they’d be just fine.  I do think if they were privately to talk to you off the record, they would say, yes, we’re probably a little disappointed because they are going to look tomorrow and they are worried about the headlines.  They’ve been saying to me all day long Chris that it seems as if we, the press, is enamored with this story, this Barack Obama story, the sort of Cinderella story, if you will.  I have to be careful with the way I phrase that because I know what can happen with that.

MATTHEWS:  No, I understand.  While, we are in the newspaper and he’s new.  That’s why we like him.  He’s new.

CORKE:  I think he’s fresh.  He’s new.  He’s different, absolutely.  And she’s sort of a throw back to the past, even if it is a recent past.  But one of the things stands out to me Chris and that’s just when you look at the numbers—and we’ve been watching what Chuck and his staff have been doing all night long and the politico also.  It’s going to be tight moving forward.  The folks’ hearsay, it’s all about momentum.  Nothing was decided night.  They feel good about where they are.  But I think privately, they would have to admit that they are worried about their narrative after a night like tonight.

MATTHEWS:  Here’s the tough question, Kevin, as we look at what everybody is up to tonight.  Before we got the results in tonight, the Clinton campaign was putting out the word that they want to have to debate a week into the future.  If they’re happy with the trend of this campaign, as it proceeded on course, why would they want to change that trend by having debates every week?  It seems to me they would want to get control of that trend.

CORKE:  Yes, absolutely.  I think what they are really saying, without saying it, Chris, is that they love the way Senator Clinton performs in the debates.  She’s just very, very solid as you know.  If you keep putting it out there, I think they’re idea is this—they might be able to expose Barack Obama.  Maybe he slips up, maybe he comes across as a lot more liberal.  Maybe that makes some independent voters from some Democrats who would be concede maybe more in the middle of the road Democrat; maybe that makes them nervous.  But I’m not so sure that would really be that effective, to be honest with you.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, but every - for the Clintons I mean, every time that they have a debate, they give Barack Obama and the moderators and questions and the audience a chance one more time, to ask Senator Clinton, why did you vote to authorize to war back in 2002 and she has to take a couple of minutes to dig the hole deeper sometimes.  Anyway, thank you very much, Kevin Corke, with the Clinton.  MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson in Phoenix right now, covering the McCain campaign.  Well, did they do it?  Did they drive the stake (ph) into the heart of the enemy, did they end the Romney threat only to find themselves with a newly emergent Mike Huckabee?

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC NEWS - PHOENIX:  I think they did, I think they think they did, too.  McCain may have real attempt to his speech and he said three times, it’s over, we have a long way to go, we have not since the nomination but they believe they have and you know they believe they have because they said nice things about arch enemy, Mitt Romney.

MATTHEWS:  Right, that’s how you know you killed the guy, you say nice things about them, right?

CARLSON:  That’s exactly right.  When you patronize them and that’s what they did and McCain said, you know, I respect Governor Romney, he’s lifted his paper, fit seemed almost genuine.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  When you have slain the dragon and then pay a tribute to the dragon knowing the dragon is no longer a threat to you.  Oh, I love it.

CARLSON:  He was a valiant dragon and he fought a good fight and he had to kill him in the end.

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you, Tucker to that report.  Everybody should get some sleep soon tonight.  And NBC’s John Yang is covering the Romney campaign for us up in Boston.  Well, it’s great to see Bill well up there and extremely popular, the ex-governor, he always has a good time, from what I can tell.  Bill Willard (ph) up there in Calino (ph) what we’re talking about.  That guy does enjoy life.  What do you think?  Bill Willard and Romney is this last to road tonight?

JOHN YANG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, BOSTON:  Well, they say that the

campaign goes on.  Governor Romney in a speech said that he’s going on

to the convention and Kevin Madden, the campaign spokesperson is

underscoring that tonight that the campaign goes on.  But other officials -

MATTHEWS:  I think Kevin Madden’s campaign will go on tomorrow.

YANG:  Well, they are going to have to talk about what happens tomorrow after this loss in California, they were banking everything on that.  And tomorrow they are going to sit down and talk about where they go, they will go on to Washington, D.C. on Thursday where the governor will address the conservative political action committee.  But they say the schedule after that is up in the air.

MATTHEWS:  Will he get a good reception at CPAC do you think?

YANG:  It’s going to be interesting to see, remember who won that last drop ball last year at CPAC.  John McCain skipped it.  Of course, there a lot of people saying that there was a great deal of organizational effort went into that.  It was a poll where you went online and had to register.  It will be interesting to see.

MATTHEWS:  What do you think about spending?  There’s been a lot of reports to try to figure out exactly how much money Mitt Romney is spending his own fortune.  He estimated about $250 million.  Is he still spending money as quickly as he was a couple of weeks ago?

YANG:  Well, I can tell you, he’s still raising money before he came and addressed his supporters here, he was next door at the Westin Hotel raising money here from supporters in Massachusetts.  I think they say they’re still going on and that is one indication that they are still looking forward in this campaign.

MATTHEWS:  Keith?

OLBERMANN:  Just to add to that point John and Chris, the “Washington Post” blog has done on calculation on Chris’s exact point.  It’s $1 million per delegate.  It’s $1,160,000 per delegate for Governor Romney at this point.

MATTHEWS:  That’s an expensive past time.  Let’s go right now to Norah O’Donnell with the panel, please.

NORAH O’DONNELL, NBC NEWS:  All right, Chris and Keith, thank you very much.  We were talking about the Democratic race and Pat, do you think the Kennedys helped Obama at all?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, they must have helped him some but it certainly doesn’t look very impressive.  I mean, she won Massachusetts where Kennedy is and Kerry and Deval Patrick and I think I saw the numbers 57 to 40 which is something of a route.  Secondly, California which is where they put their time and effort, with Maria Shriver, Hillary Clinton seems to have won it going away and they were targeting the Hispanic vote and from what I’ve seen the Hispanic vote in California went 65 to 34 for Clinton.  Now, there’s no doubt they helped not only if they hurt but it certainly wasn’t decisive in any kind of way because they didn’t pull anything out.

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST:  It wasn’t decisive but it probably did help you know, to some extent.  I mean, Obama was way behind everywhere a few weeks ago and he ended up winning, you know, 13 states to her 8 states with one undecided.  I’ve got to believe that they helped somewhere.

BUCHANAN:  But California and Massachusetts will be the key two

places -

ROBINSON:  Exactly and Massachusetts, I’m sure they would hope for -

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  He may have bragging rights because of those demographics.  I mean, it looks like he’s still maintaining his lead in terms of men over women voters and looks like he’s still maintaining he’s lead of a black vote, Barack Obama.

BUCHANAN:  Barack’s got a lot of - we were talking about the Kennedys.

MADDOW:  Right.  But that’s what I’m saying.  One of the things he’s

been trying to do is take care of his weaknesses.  His weaknesses among

female voters and among Latino voters and t looks like he may have

shortened those problems for himself.  He may have brought it down a

notch on himself even if he didn’t help -

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  African-Americans got 80 percent in Georgian and what

white voters was 53-44, that the dramatic -

O’DONNELL:  The headline I wrote down from the exit polls in terms of the Democratic Party is we still have a party divided by race and gender on the Democratic side.

MADDOW:  But let’s divide them.  Barack Obama making up ground among Latinos and women compared to previous nights.

O’DONNELL:  Hillary has a lead by 20 points for Hispanics.

BUCHANAN:  Look at the African-American vote when you see 80 something to 13 for Hillary Clinton, 13 percent, that’s the wife of the first black president?

ROBINSON:  But you know, the most striking thing about the evening to be is Chuck Todd’s calculation, 841 delegates.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  That’s something very good about Obama.  I think because clearly the surge has brought him right up to parity with Hillary and he looks like he’s got a good glide path ahead of him.  Although, you have the superdelegates and of course, when they start ceding Michigan and Florida in that convention, it should be very interesting.

ROBINSON:  Right.  But there is logic to the argument that the

longer this goes on, and given his money, given the fact that he seems

to wear well -

O’DONNELL:  Well, this race so close, we talked about tonight in

terms of perception, especially on the Democratic side.  I mean, as

Chuck pointed out, Obama may be a couple points, five votes ahead in

terms of the delegate race at the end of the night.  But if Hillary

Clinton going to get the headlines because she won the two biggest

prices, New York and California, of course got Missouri -

MADDOW:  I’ve already written my headline for tomorrow for my radio show and my blog, and my headline is  -- it is a tie.  You could argue, OK, Clinton got California but Obama got more states.  You can say that she got New Jersey and she got some of the other states.  He got Missouri.  Really, it’s a tie.  You have to go to such lengths to call this anything other than a tie.  I end up averaging their margins of victory and all of the states where we have that and you could say that he got larger margins of victory than she did.  But when you have to go to that level of analysis to find an advantage, it’s a tie.

BUCHANAN:  I said before we even started, New Jersey, Missouri and California and she won two out of three of those and so we saw we saw some polls that showed Obama ahead by 13 or something in California.  And so I looked at the end of the evening when California was in and I if I were at a Clinton camp I would give it a sigh of relief and say we dodged a bullet and we came out OK.

MADDOW:  Yes, but then the bullet hits when you realized he won 13 or 14 states and you only won 8 or 9.

BUCHANAN:  But California and New York are pretty big.

MADDOW:  But New York was never in play.

ROBINSON:  Look, if anybody who seen these campaigns on the ground

can see these are really good well-put together professional campaigns

with two candidates who are really good at what they, in the country,

you know Democrats are divided on them, so -

BUCHANAN:  Doesn’t it look like they almost are going to have to get together if they are warring over delegates?  I remember the ‘76 campaign.  (INAUDIBLE) Ford and Reagan was a close one.  Ford wanted Reagan on the ticket, he really wanted on the ticket and of course, Reagan didn’t want to go there.  So, I would think if it gets down to that and it gets down to delegates and your credentials committee ceding Michigan (INAUDIBLE) and people threatening to walk out, you’ll say, wait a minute.  Let’s pull this together.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON:  Either one though is actually ready to say, OK, I’ll take that back seat.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  I think Hillary is likely to take the back seat though.  Because Obama—you always have taken it, I mean, Rockefeller made that mistake in 1960, he should have taken it, he would have been set for ‘64.  Instead, you know, I’m not stand by equipment, you do that and maybe it passes you by.

O’DONNELL:  You already have Michelle Obama on the record when she was asked if she would support Hillary Clinton as the nominee, she saying, well, I’ll take a look at it.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  Voters are in the same place tomorrow as they were yesterday which is that they’ve got two candidates that they like, that have a lot of money, that are electorally viable and who don’t seem to be tearing the party apart.

O’DONNELL:  You know, it does become essentially maybe a question of resources as we battle this last couple of states for the country and Obama has the resources.  All right, guys.  Thank you so much.  And back to you guys, Greg and Keith.

MATTHEWS:  Norah, thank you. Coming up: New York Times, Bob Herbert (ph) can’t wait what his column going to say.

Plus:  What we learned about the Latino vote tonight.  And “Newsweek’s” Richard Wolffe, he’s a smart guy, he’s coming here tonight and tell us what really mattered (ph).  You’re watching MSNBC live coverage of Super duper Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  After seven years of a president who listens only to special interests, you’re ready for a president who brings your voice, your values and your dreams to your White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you with MSNBC live coverage of Super Tuesday.  Or if you’re already on the east coast, super Wednesday or Super Tuesday plus.  We’ve already told you there was voting attempted in Florida tonight.  That’s how exciting this was even though the Florida primary was more than a week ago.  And we have this from Missouri.  Where it appears that Barack Obama is going to defeat Hillary Clinton by about 1 percent or less.

This is from the Missouri state’s statute, any contestant in a primary or other election contest who was defeated by less than 1 percent of the vote cast to the office and any contest and receive the second number cast for that office if two or more are to be elected and who was to complete about less 1 percent of the vote cast, or any person who’s position on a question was defeated by less than 1 percent of the votes cast on the question shall have the right to a recount of the votes cast for the office were on the question, that is not pointed to us by either the campaigns.  We just thought we’d bring it in here to live enough chances that something could change even after we reported to.

California obviously, the big choice here tonight for California Democrats and Republicans alike.  And the Latino vote critical to both.  We’re joined by Maria Teresa Peterson of the group.  Local Latino who’s with us earlier in the evening.  Thank you again for your time tonight.

MARIA TERESA PETERSON, VOTO LATINO:  Thank you, Keith.  Thank you for having me back.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  We have the exit polling suggesting that Hispanics in California on the Democratic side went 65/34 for Hillary Clinton.  That number is obviously huge in terms of the overall aspect of how this turned out and why Senator Clinton beat Senator Obama in California.  What does number mean to you in analyzing participation by and preferences of Latino voters?

PETERSON:  If anything, I think it tells us that there’s no clear determine of the winner.  Hillary has been campaigning in California now for quite a long time among the Latino vote.  But if you go to Arizona, what you find is that 70 percent of the Latino vote is reflective of what was won in the general election—I’m sorry.  The general primary earlier today with Arizona, 56 percent went to Hillary and 39 percent of it went to Obama.  So, I think it’s definitely up for grabs.

OLBERMANN:  So, if we’ve seen in a matter of a couple of weeks the presumed, you know, split along the racial lines, that you know, that Barack Obama is not appealing to white voters in the south and then today’s results were 51-43, Clinton over Obama in white voters, suggesting that that thing is gone, that assumption, that demographic breakdown is gone.  Is the Hispanic demographic assumption a thing of the past already?

PETERSON:  Look, I guess it goes back to what history has taught us.  Back when Tom Bradley was the mayor in Los Angeles, he consistently won the Latino vote.  Again, what I like to say and what I think Latinos would be clear and want everybody to understand is that it’s a matter of somebody touching upon the issues.

And, again, Hillary has done an amazing job of reaching out to the community but Barack definitely has that opportunity as well.  And some food for thought.  When individuals say that they want to ahead and provide more information they want to pump up the Latino vote, what do they do?  The first thing they do is they buy media ads and where do they buy them?  In Spanish-speaking languages and unfortunately, 39 percent of all Latinos actually consume (ph) their information in English.

OLBERMANN:  Extraordinary and insightful.  Maria Theresa Peterson of Voto Latino, great thanks again for your time.

MATTHEWS:  We are joined right now by Bob Herbert of the “New York Times.”  You know, Bob, one of the most effecting political pictures I’ve ever seen is a working class family, white guy and his son, real working class regular guy, and his son, who is in a t-shirt, a ripped t-shirt and he’s having his son salute as Bob Kennedy’s train goes by, and he’s taken to be buried.  And I’ve always thought of that picture as a statement about the Reagan Democrats and where they were once Democrats and how they once had a loyalty to the working class and to some kind of hope in this country for their people.

And I look at the faces of the people tonight at that rally for Barack Obama, black faces, just excited and thrilled that this guy is making it.  And I look at the states that have come in so far tonight.  This is not ordinary America voting pattern.  I just want to ask you your reaction to this.  When you see an African-American carrying Connecticut, not just Illinois and Delaware, but Kansas, and Missouri, and Colorado, and Minnesota, and North Dakota.  I mean, God, Idaho.  These are not even diverse population.  These are white populations, caucuses.  What’s happening?

BOB HERBERT, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”:  To me, that’s the story.  I mean, I know everybody is interested in the horse race.  I mean, that’s natural.  Will this guy get the nomination?  Will he get elected president?  But to me, the real story is what he’s achieved already.  He’s changed the face of American politics.  As we go forward, no matter what happens in this election, everybody is going to be studying this Obama campaign to figure out how we do it the next time around.

I think one of the things that is really important, and I touched on in a column, is what I’m seeing as the generational divide.  So the older voters are paying much more attention to ethnic issues and racial issues and where are the blacks going and where are the Latinos going and that sort of thing.  When you look at the younger voters—and I’ve been out here talking to them in California—that doesn’t come up.  They look at the candidates and they start to decide, which one do we like and which one do we want to vote for?  Overwhelmingly, it’s been Obama.

That is a huge shift in American culture.  It’s a tectonic shift that goes far beyond just a presidential race or a campaign for the Democratic nomination.  And these are powerful forces at work and these are the forces that are going to determine the face of America as we go ahead in the 21st century.  So Obama’s achievement has been huge whether he actually gets the nomination or not.

MATTHEWS:  Bob Woodward said a couple of weeks ago on a program I was on, the great Watergate sleuth, that behind everything in the year 2008, no matter whether it’s talked about or not, is Iraq.  Now, Bob’s not really a political reporter.  He’s an investigative reporter and a general assignment editor, of course.  But he believes it’s behind everything and I wonder whether the change phenomena, the call, change, change, isn’t all charged up by this desire to get out of this rut of war?  .

HERBERT:  I’m not sure I agree with that.  I think Iraq is a huge part of it.  But when you talk about the change, I think you also have to look at the way that government has been working or not working over the past several years.  I mean, you look at what’s been going on in New Orleans; you look at the approval ratings of the president.  I mean, they are hideous, but so are the approval ratings for Congress.

I think younger people and some older people, as well, are tired of the partisan divide and the bickering and the inability to get something done.  So and I think that they want a change and it includes Iraq, but I think that it’s broader than Iraq.

But to get to your point on Iraq, there’s two things that I think are important.  One is that Iraq, the war, and all the money that we spend on the war stands in the way of making progress on a lot of the important issues at home.  That’s one issue.  Another issue is that, across the board, I see people really worried about the image of America abroad.  And obviously Iraq has such a tremendous amount to do with that.  And so in that sense, yes, when they start talking about change, Iraq is a key component of it.

MATTHEWS:  Did you see the numbers tonight in our poll?  Two things came out of the exit poll that obviously helped Barack.  A number of them I think Senator Clinton, too.  It wasn’t split tonight, let’s get it straight.  But the two that helped—certainly the economy, I think, helps her a great deal.  But the two questions that I think helped Barack were the one, people really want change.  Tim Russert was reporting that earlier tonight, about two to one or more, people chose change over experience.

The other one was an almost—I hate to use the phrase kumbaya.  It was a hopeful goal of uniting the country.  No more we are going to take the fight to the bad Republicans, but more like, we’re going to put this thing together.  We’re going to get past this.  I guess that helped Barack too.  I think it did.  I’m not sure.

HERBERT:  I think that’s crucial.  When I’ve been talking to these young people out here in California, they don’t talk about the differences between the health care programs put forth by Hillary or by Barack.  They don’t talk about the differences or how quickly one or the other will end or bring troops home from Iraq.  They talk about whether we can begin to heal some of the divisions in this society, and they talk big time about this idea of hope.

Now, the smart set talks about that being nebulous.  You really have to play hardball, to use your term.  You have to focus on the issues.  But hope is a big deal.  Optimism and hope is what drives this country.  What makes the United States special has always been that American dream and that dream is based on hope and optimism.  And Barack pushes that.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I wondered, Bob, whether the United States and the people voting today in half the country would mount the galloping horse of history.  I guess it’s fair to say that they have one foot in the stirrups.  We’ll see.  Anyway, thank you very much, Bob Herbert.

Up next, more from the panel.  Plus, “Newsweek’s” Richard Wolff is coming along.  You’re watching MSNBC’s live coverage—it’s still live tonight—of Super Duper Tuesday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And today, on this Tuesday in February, in states north and south, east and west, what began as a whisper in Springfield has swelled to a chorus of millions calling for change.  It’s a chorus that cannot be ignored, a chorus that cannot be deterred.  This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Senator Obama speaking to his constituency tonight in Chicago, adding, in a most memorable line, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

MATTHEWS:  I love that line.  Am I allowed to love a line, no matter who speaks it?  I just thought that’s one of the great lines I’ve ever heard.

OLBERMANN:  I love that line, too.

MATTHEWS:  OK, we’re together.

OLBERMANN:  I think Senator Obama probably loves that line, too.  We may hear it again.  When you talked to Shuster, did you ask him if he would get Obama to come on COUNTDOWN for me?

MATTHEWS:  I’m selfish.  By the way, I am in the cross hairs of the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland.  He has to cross through the very studio in which I work, Channel four.  He has to come downstairs.  Can’t he come to the third floor and do HARDBALL?  That’s all I’m asking.  Get on the elevator.  That’s all I’m asking of the guy.

OLBERMANN:  He’s Chris Matthews and he approved that message.

Let’s go back over to our panel.  Norah O’Donnell will try to restore something that we just lost here.

NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I thought you guys were going to say we loved the panel.  We haven’t heard any love from you guys tonight.

OLBERMANN:  You are the ones we’ve been waiting for. 

MATTHEWS:  What a transition.  What a charmer.

OLBERMANN:  Follow that.

O’DONNELL:  I’ll follow that.  I will.  I will.  And we were talking about, you know, what a historic day today is, Super Tuesday, the closest thing we have ever had to a national primary.  Some people were looking at tonight, whether there would be a turning point.  And it’s almost 2:00 in the morning and we’re still here.  It hasn’t turned yet.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  It’s the biggest primary there’s ever been in American history.  I’m dying to see the turnout numbers tomorrow when start to get those from states.  We saw such historic turnout levels on the Democratic side in so many of the early races.  If that continued across the country—I can’t imagine that pace continued.  But even if it continued a little bit, it’s going to be a tremendous number in terms of civic participation.

O’DONNELL:  Pat, what about the mood of the country?  I mean, we have now an open seat for the first time in more than half a century, in which there’s no incumbent president or vice president seeking their party’s nomination.  We have a Democratic race that might go to the convention.  We’ve got a Republican race that is still on-going, even though Mitt Romney is having frank discussions tomorrow.

What is it about the mood of this country that’s propelling us to this point.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think 70 percent of the American people think we’re on the wrong course.  They see economic insecurity.  They see us bogged down in two endless wars.  They see a government that can’t even control the border of the United States.  A lot of them culturally say, this isn’t the nation that I grew up in.

And I think there’s this desire—and it’s captured in the word

change—this desire, is there some way that government or what we do

politically can change all of that and enormous hopes are being

invested, frankly, inside the Democratic party more than the Republican

party.  And my—of course, I’m sort of a pessimist.  But as you see

hope being invested in this, like you did, I think, in a different way

Ike was very much liked, but a tremendous amount of hope was invested in JFK with New Frontiers and we’re going to do all of these brave things.  We’re going to take up the challenge of the Soviet Union.  I think you see that same kind of feeling inside the Democratic party.

EUGENE ROBINSON, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  But JFK, that process, that up-welling of hope, started a lot of processes that led to the 1960s, the Civil Rights Acts and all the things.  Some happened after JFK.  But I think, you know, the first sense that that feeling was coming to dominate—

BUCHANAN:  We knew what the cause was then and the cause was, here’s a young leader that’s going to take up the challenge of the Soviet Empire and move us on.  Ike was great, but that generation is gone.  What is the cause now?  Change is all I here.

MADDOW:  I think what’s happening now, if you poll the American public on policy issues, without calling them liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, the American people do line up a lot more with Democratic identified causes right now.  But Democrats themselves are also very frustrated that we’ve had a Congress that hasn’t stopped the Bush administration from doing the things that American are most angry at them about.  They haven’t made big changes on the war or the Constitution.

I think that’s why it’s hope and it’s change, these two amorphous ideas, because Americans know what they want done.  They just want to believe that if they elect somebody different, there will be something.

O’DONNELL:  Why isn’t it—the exit polling has shown, once again, that change is overwhelmingly the top issue over experience.  Why isn’t Obama winning this outright?

ROBINSON:  Well, he’s doing pretty well.

MADDOW:  From nowhere, he’s neck and neck right now.

ROBINSON:  And I think one way to interpret the whole change thing is a sense that government can do things, can do things for people, rather than be an impediment to things that people really need, health care.

BUCHANAN:  After Katrina, who believes in government? 

MADDOW:  After Katrina, people feel like, I want a government that is competent, that can actually do something.

ROBINSON:  I want my government at least to—

MADDOW:  I’m not going to build my own personal Levy.  If we’re going to build a Levies, I want them to work.  The government builds levies.  Therefore, I want a competent government.  People don’t want a Bush government, they want a competent government.

BUCHANAN:  Look, government failed at every single level and now they have great ideas.  We’ve going to get out of Iraq.  What do they think is going to happen when we turn around and walk out of Iraq.  Do they think it’s going to be beautiful over there?  Look what happened when we walked out of Vietnam.  Look at the ‘60s all the change produced.  You did have the Civil Rights Act.  You had riots.  You had inflation.  You had war, endless war, until they threw all the Democrats out.

ROBINSON:  That’s one way of remembering it, Pat.  Another way is that—

BUCHANAN:  The ‘60s gave us a conservative era, because of the failures of the ‘60s.

ROBINSON:  Minorities and women got a place the society.  That was something that happened.

(CROSS TALK)

MADDOW:  The ‘60s also gave you the rest of this panel, who wouldn’t have been here without the changes brought about by the social movement.

BUCHANAN:  Without Nixon, I would not have been here, you’re exactly right.

O’DONNELL:  On that note—on that note, it’s a good one to end on.  Thanks very much to our wonderful panel.  And Chris and Keith, I’m going to send it back to you guys.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you to Norah O’Donnell, and Pat Buchanan, Rachel Maddow, and Eugene Robinson, who played so nice up until the end there.  We’ll see you on the next Super fill in the blank day.  They’re all going to be super for several weeks, at least to come, if not months.

Up next, Chuck Todd, who has come up with the Todd number tonight, that this whole thing was worth a net gain, perhaps of four delegates.  We’ll look ahead to the next round of contests.  We’re starting to preview things already.  And we’ll also now leave you with this segment before the break.  Here are the numbers from New Mexico, where it is too early to call and a 48-48 percent split.  We’re calling it dead even.  It is too early to call in New Mexico, the last Democratic outstanding race of the night.  You’re watching MSNBC’s continuing coverage of Super Tuesday. More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  So those are the sort of important events of Super Tuesday.  Now to the real important story.  This phrase that Chris Matthews and I both loved from Barack Obama’s speech tonight; “we are the change that we’ve been waiting for.”  It got applause in Chicago.  It got applause here.  It’s not his line.  Maria Shriver said it on Sunday.  It’s Maria Shriver’s line.  It turns out that she said it at the event at the Pauly (ph) Pavilion at UCLA on Sunday.

MATTHEWS:  But he said something different.  We’re the ones that we’ve been waiting for, a little different.  It worked in context, I think.  I thought it worked because I looked at the audience and thought he was saying to them, everybody waits for deliverance, and what if it’s you that has to deliver.  And it was sort of—

OLBERMANN:  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, was Obama.  We are the change that we’ve been waiting for was Maria Shriver on Sunday.  In any event, Howard Fineman is in Washington—

MATTHEWS:  Similar thoughts.

OLBERMANN:  As we look ahead to Super Delegates, as if we’ve not had enough problems assessing delegates tonight.  What’s the Super Delegate picture, Howard?

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  Well, the Super Delegate picture becomes crucial.  These are the ones—members of Congress, governors, elected officials of all kinds whom the Democrats have really now entrusted the nomination to.  In a way, there are almost 800 of them.  There are 275 of them in the Congress.  What is happening now is, now that all of these events have happened in the state tonight, members of Congress and others who were holding back on whom to support, now may come out based on the results in their states.

For example, Senator Barbara Boxer in California, unlike Dianne Feinstein, said, you know, I’m not going to say anything until after the results are in from California.  Well, now the results are in from California.  Hillary won pretty big, but Barbara Boxer, I’m told, is not about to go rushing to the barricades for Hillary Clinton.  She still is going to hang back.  She may say, maybe I will vote for Hillary, maybe I won’t.  Maybe I probably will, but I’m not going to be out there campaigning for all around the country.

And what’s going to happen now is that the Congress itself is going to become a campaign place, not only because of Super delegates are there, because of this fascinating piece of history; never before in American history have we had two members of Congress running against each other for the presidency.  And that’s very likely to happen.  I’m not saying McCain has a lock, but we could well have that.

What that means is, we’ll have something approaching a parliamentary democracy in this country, a parliamentary campaign between now and November, because if it’s Barack or if it’s Hillary and if it’s McCain, they are going to have to produce in the Senate.  They are going to have to get things done from the floor of the Senate.  It’s going to be unprecedented and, I think, very interesting.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, but, of course, a true parliamentary race would be limited to, what, three months max.

FINEMAN:  That’s true.

OLBERMANN:  It doesn’t really qualify.

FINEMAN:  Yes, in Britain they stand for election.  Here we run. 

There’s a big difference.

OLBERMANN:  And marathon upon marathon.

MATTHEWS:  What happens if President Bush has the wit to pull a Harry Truman and ask the Democratic controlled Senate and Democratic controlled House of Representatives to do what it promises to do in the next election.  In other words, meet your campaign goals right now.  Here’s your chance?

FINEMAN:  Exactly.  I think that could well happen, Chris.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Because if it is McCain, he’s going to go with Bush and say, let’s force the Democrats, since they’re in the majority, to get the stuff done.  Let’s force Obama to get his agenda through right now or Hillary’s.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman, thanks and thanks for all of the good work tonight.  Before we step out, we have a quick update from NBC News political direct Chuck Todd, who looks ahead to the next round of contest, having already ascertained this one was Obama 841, Clinton 837, plus or minus ten.

TODD:  I gave you the plus or minus ten.  And by the way, the Obama folks took me up on it, as far as going to six.  They think they might get as much as 847.  Regardless, where does that leave us?  First, I want to talk about Super Delegates.  Super Delegates tonight, we’ve got Clinton with 259 Super Delegates, and we’ve got Obama claiming 170.  These are folks, they have shared the names.  That’s an 89 vote advantage on the delegate front.

If Obama gets what they think they are going to get out of tonight, about a 35 delegate advantage total, all of the delegates from the beginning of the Iowa caucus to now, then you are looking at 58 --

Clinton will have a 58 delegate lead after all is said and done, assuming our estimates are right, plus or minus two or three delegates.

So what happens next?  Well, then you have a bunch of caucuses on February 9th.  You’ve got Nebraska.  You’ve got Washington State.  You’ve got Louisiana.  What did we learn tonight about caucuses?  Senator Obama dominates.  And he can win a lot of delegates and potentially make up—once again, let me put up this number, 59 -- he’s got to make up those.  He could make that up quickly, throw in February 12th, the Chesapeake Primary, and he could potentially be even on delegates in a week.

MATTHEWS:  Wow.

OLBERMANN:  And so our headline gets rewritten for us again by Chuck

Todd, who has calculators in his fingers.  Thank you, Chuck.  The

headline obviously—we know the Republican headline; this was McCain’s

night and largely Huckabee’s on the second level, with Romney not

completely out of it, but being sort of pushed to the fringe.  The

headline has to be Obama be Clinton tied tonight, with an Obama sort of

with the asterisk that they show—

MATTHEWS:  The highly decisive Super Tuesday event has not been highly decisive is the bottom line.

By the way, isn’t it great to be on a team with Chuck Todd?

OLBERMANN:  It is indeed.

MATTHEWS:  Who else has the numbers like that guy?

OLBERMANN:  Chris Jansing picks up our coverage after the break.  For Chris Matthews, I’m Keith Olbermann.  We’ll see you on the next super day of the week.  Thank you.  Good night.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: You are watching MSNBC’s Super Tuesday coverage. Hello, I am Chris Jansing. It is 2:00 a.m. here on the East Coast, 11:00 p.m. on the West Coast and finally, something that really lived up to the billing Super Duper Tuesday. This has never been—there has never been anything like this. Never this many states in play, never this many delegates at stake, and what an extraordinary set of circumstances we have right now. Neither nomination, even close to being settled, although closer on the Republican side.

Let’s take a look at where we stand right now. We have a lot of information to show you right now. In California, of course, the largest state at play, calls for Hillary Clinton with 32 percent of the vote in.

She is pulling 53 percent of the vote. Let’s go on to New York. Again, Hillary Clinton’s adopted home state, 57 percent of the vote. That state nearly completely counted. She got more than a million votes there.

And now to some strength for Barack Obama. Illinois, of course, his home state where he is senator. 64 percent of the vote for him there with 97 percent counted. New Jersey, adjacent to Hillary Clinton’s home state.

Both of the candidates spent time there recently. Hillary Clinton, the declared winner in that state. Hillary Clinton, again, taking Massachusetts. Her campaign put out a press release saying that this was an upset, a surprise. Of course, Barack Obama winning the endorsement of Senator Ted Kennedy there. Deval Patrick, the governor there as well.

And in Georgia, Barack Obama, 66 percent of the vote. A decisive vote for him there down in the south.

In Missouri or Missoura, if you prefer. Barack Obama, 49 percent. Could these races be any closer in some of these states? And remember, we’re looking at delegate count here. So the splits are significant. Barack Obama with a handy win in Minnesota. Tennessee, 54 percent for Hillary Clinton. 41 percent for Barack Obama. That state completely in. 80 percent counted in Arizona. A win for Hillary Clinton. Just over half the votes.

Alabama, again, Barack Obama, 56 percent of the vote. Connecticut, another tight race but this one goes to Barack Obama, 51 percent of the vote. Oklahoma, Hillary Clinton winning that, 55 percent to 31 percent.

That state completely in. In Arkansas, with about 85 percent of those votes counted. Hillary Clinton, an easy winner there. Of course, she served as first lady there for many years. Alaska, Barack Obama with a 3 to 1 win over Hillary Clinton.

In Kansas, again, Barack Obama. Another almost 3-1 win. In Utah, Barack Obama, 57 percent. A caucus in Idaho. Barack Obama has been doing extremely well in these caucuses and he took 80 percent of the vote there. In Delaware, 53 percent of the for Barack Obama, a win. Barack Obama, also taking North Dakota, 61 to 37. And New Mexico, still too close to call. But we have a very low vote count there, not surprising given where it is. 38 percent of the vote in, in New Mexico.

So this is what the states look like right now. You can see the states in dark blue, won by Hillary Clinton. The bright blue, won by Barack Obama. A split there and a very big split in the delegate count.

Now let’s take a look at what’s going on the Republican side where there is a little more decisive information here. John McCain taking California primary. Also, in New York. Decisive win for John McCain in New York. In Georgia, very tight race there but Mike Huckabee has been declared the winner. In Illinois, John McCain, 47 percent. Arizona, again, John McCain. Mitt Romney trailing by double digits there. Another win for Mike Huckabee, the GOP primary in Tennessee.

John McCain but a very close race in Missouri. Just a fraction, really, separating him from Mitt Romney. Not so close in New Jersey. John McCain taking that large state handily. In Colorado, Mitt Romney posts a win.

And again, that was a decisive win for Mitt Romney. In Alabama, Mike Huckabee, of course, where he once served as governor, taking that state. Although McCain kept it close there.

In Massachusetts where Mitt Romney was governor, he wins with more than half the vote. In Minnesota, again, a win for Mitt Romney, 42 percent of the vote. That state much more divided. Oklahoma, a win for John McCain.

Another tight race though. A pretty good three-way split there. Mitt Romney taking Utah very easily in the GOP primary. In Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, 61 percent of the vote in Arkansas where he was governor.

And John McCain in Connecticut taking that state. Not even a contest there. Mitt Romney trailing by about 20 points there. And in North Dakota, another pretty close split decision but a win for Mitt Romney.

That was one of the caucus states. Back to the primary in Delaware. John McCain not quite hitting the 50 percent mark but winning there over Mitt Romney.

So let’s take a look at where these states stand. And again, you can see the reference there to the four remaining candidates. Mitt Romney in the dark blue, and John McCain in the orange, and in the pale, sort of, pinkish orange there for Mike Huckabee.

Joining me now, Tucker Carlson, following McCain campaign in Phoenix, Arizona. He joins us on the phone.

How are you doing, Tucker?

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Chris, good evening.

JANSING: What a night. Have you seen anything like this?

CARLSON: It’s unbelievable. The McCain campaign, I’ve been with McCain all day since we left New York for San Diego and then Arizona. I think he exceeded his own expectations there. They tend to be superstitious, the candidates, and understate there likely performance. Even still, I think they did better than I thought they were going to do. The late polls show Romney surging in California ahead. Those polls turned out to be wrong. Not quite as wrong as the polls on the Democratic side, which turn out to be ridiculous.

But McCain, I believe, believes he has—he holds the Republican nomination. You could see it in his remarks tonight before the audience in the ballroom in his victory speech. When he was magnanimous and even nice to Mitt Romney, something you haven’t seen for the last couple months. He’s been locked in an incredibly nasty and very genuinely personal tussle with Mitt Romney. And he was (INAUDIBLE). He patronized that, which means (INAUDIBLE).

JANSING: Does that mean he thinks Mitt Romney is going to drop out of this race?

CARLSON: Well, I mean, you know as McCain people often point out, Romney is still financing to some large extent and he can go on because of that reason pretty much definitely at least (INAUDIBLE). He is a smart guy.

And at this stage, they believe he is likely to get out. Maybe stay in through next week. Who knows? We’ve all been so wrong so often. That I, personally, not would be heading to any kind of predictions about anything. But I’ve known that the McCain people believe, yes. It is settled.

McCain’s job now is to try and mend fences with some of the elements in his party. Some of the conservative elements who really have staked hard line positions against him in the past 48 hours. Some of them saying, (INAUDIBLE), they would rather vote for Hillary Clinton. Some of those people are going to cool down. Some of them probably won’t cool down. I think McCain is going to make it all the way to Election Day in the fall with parts of his own party opposing him.

JANSING: Well, even if that happens, I mean, we really see some of those people going to the polls and voting for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. I mean, you know, how much can he really lose there, you wonder?

CARLSON: Well, I think that’s a point. I mean, I think it’s conceivable if Obama is the nominee which is looking less likely, I believe. That some of them might go to Obama. I think most of them would probably die before they voted for Hillary Clinton. So no, I think -- (INAUDIBLE) they would really do that. But it’s the measure of the fracture within the Republican Party. And by the way, it’s not an argument really of an ideology, whether McCain is too liberal or not. It’s an argument about who controls the Republican Party.

And McCain has shown no deference at all to the people who do control the Republican Party. So they made them for it. And that’s what this argument is really about. It’s about power, not idea.

JANSING: And if this is a done deal. If McCain is going to be the nominee, where does his campaign stand on the whole idea that their race will be settled? Potentially, far in advance of the Democratic race.

CARLSON: Well—and that’s obviously an advantage if it turns out that way. And the Republicans need every advantage they can get. I mean, if you look at the fundraising numbers, the turnout numbers, tonight and over the past month, Democrats are so far ahead by every single one of those measures that it spells potential doom for the Republican in the fall.

I mean, Democrats are much more energized. A lot of what happens in the end will depend upon who the Democrats nominate. I think the McCain people feel fairly certain they could do much better against Hillary than they would do against Obama. But, you know, (INAUDIBLE). But it’s definitely—there is a strong, strong tail wind blowing in the Democrats’ favor this season.

JANSING: All right. It’s great to talk to you. Are you ever going to get some sleep, Tucker, or are you going to keep calling us?

CARLSON: No. I’m about to get on the airplane to go back to Washington to do my show.

JANSING: All right, great.

CARLSON: But it’s exciting, so I’m not going to whine. Thanks, Chris.

JANSING: Thanks so much. Appreciate it, Tucker.

CARLSON: See you.

JANSING: We want to go now to Ed O’Keefe with the “Washington Post.”

And Ed, if you’ve been listening to conversation that I’ve been having with Tucker Carlson, and the idea that the McCain people think that they could do better against Hillary. Do you think now that this race is going to be where it settles? And we don’t know what the exact, final delegate count is going to be. But it’s going to be remarkably close between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. We will hear more about that electability argument from the Obama campaign.

ED O’KEEFE, WASHINGTON POST: I think you’re going to hear from the Obama campaign. I think you heard it a little bit tonight, Chris, from Hillary Clinton as well. Looking beyond the current primary races, looking into November where she began to talk much more about what she hopes to be able to do to unite this country and serve as president.

Their camp, certainly, very confident after tonight, winning where they needed to win. Massachusetts, they consider a pretty good pick up.

Considering the fact that most of Massachusetts’s political royalty was with Barack Obama. But certainly, you can expect an electability argument on both sides, now that they’re facing John McCain.

JANSING: What’s the headline tonight? What are we going to see tomorrow in the “Washington Post”? Maybe I could check online and get a little advance.

O’KEEFE: You can check online or I can show it to you right here, if you want.

JANSING: All right, let’s see it.

O’KEEFE: This is an earlier version here. Clinton and Obama trade victories. McCain gains edge in early states. This was an earlier version, of course, before some of the other states were called. And basically, I think the conclusions we’re making so far is let’s wait and see where the delegates’ fall, once the different results are determined. They’re particularly out west. But certainly, a race that continues on the Democratic side. Pretty even and one that McCain now is just about set to take.

JANSING: And Ed, I’m just wondering, if there is a conventional wisdom by the people who do this full time for a living in Washington. About how long this race could go on the Democratic side?

O’KEEFE: I think we’re preparing ourselves now to go through at early March. Considering that you’ve got those big races in Texas, Wisconsin, and Ohio. And you talk to a lot of friends and neighbors here in the Washington area, who are very excited about the potential for the so-called Potomac primaries next Tuesday, to have a real impact.

Maryland, Virginia and D.C., all holding their primaries on the same day.

We talk to folks especially in Washington, D.C. who even say—guys, my votes never counted before. This time it really, actually could mean something especially on the Democratic side and may create scenario where one of the others is able to steal the deal.

JANSING: I don’t know about you, but you know, I’ve been involved in politics really since probably I was a kid. I came from a very politically active family. I don’t remember just being on the street, and now I live in Manhattan, I don’t ever remember an election where I overheard so many people talking about what was going on, on any given election day. I mean, the buzz across the country is really incredible, isn’t it?

O’KEEFE: The only one I can compare it to, Chris, and you and I share this in common. I think, maybe 2000, when Hillary Clinton ran in New York State. There was a little bit of excitement around the idea of electing a former first lady. You and I used to live in Albany, so we’re very familiar with that area. That’s the only other one I can remember.

But you’re right. Certainly, a lot of energy on the street. All across the country. And I think, on both sides of the aisle, people now realizing, especially looking at tonight’s results, that if you’re still in a state that hasn’t voted, you better get ready to vote because your votes really been a matter.

JANSING: Yes and I think that’s always a good thing, because we’ve been waiting for an election where we really thought—not just an energized electorate and but see young people really getting out and getting involved in the political process. This may be it. Ed, it’s great to see.

O’KEEFE: Good to see you, Chris.

JANSING: Thanks so much.

There is another big story we’re following. Of course, we’re going to be all over the politics all morning long.

But we know that more than 20 people are dead in tornadoes that have roared across four southern states and at least 11 of those deaths are in Arkansas, including a family of three whose home in the town of Atkins, took a direct hit. Deaths also reported in Kentucky and Tennessee. Dozens of people have been hurt there. Renee Preslar is with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Tell us what the situation is where you are now.

RENEE PRESLAR, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Well, Chris, right now, we’re just monitoring the situation. And we’ve got our county coordinators continuing to go out and survey and do search and rescues and just keep us informed of what actually they have going on in their counties. We can confirm right now that there are 12 total fatalities in the state of Arkansas at this time.

JANSING: And what exactly has it been like for the 911 calls?

PRESLAR: As far as the 911 calls, I can’t speak as far as the counties, but I can speak on behalf of here at the state side of that. And it’s just been extremely busy.

JANSING: What kind of calls are you getting?

PRESLAR: The state of Arkansas, at the Department of Emergency Management, we take a variety of phone calls. We respond to what the county needs. So you know, if the county has report damages to us, they report things like fatalities, they report situations as far as power outages and road closures and anything that goes on with those lines. If they think that they saw a storm touchdown or if they thought they had a tornado, anything along those lines do get reported to our agency.

JANSING: And it is so heart breaking, obviously. Anytime you have lost of life, that when you hear of a family being wiped out, it just really gets to you. How much warning did folks have there, Renee?

PRESLAR: Well, we were lucky as far as this goes. We’ve kind of been prepping for it all day long. So we knew the storm was going to get bad.

We knew the weather was going to get violent. As far as how much individual time that each county had before it struck in Atkins, I’m not sure about that. That information hasn’t been released to me, but we have been preparing for this all day, which I mean—we’re very fortunate in that sense, because the death toll could have been much greater.

JANSING: Yes. And so this storm, the ones that hit Atkins, just basically hit right in the middle of town?

PRESLAR: Yes. It struck in the middle of the town and then it went over Interstate 40 and crossed up into Conway County.

JANSING: Oh, boy. And I understand that—I mean, we’re seeing some of the pictures, the devastations, but literally just tractor trailers, just sort of thrown over on their side. And you know, what are road conditions? What are conditions with utilities? How much of a dangerous situation still exists out there, Renee?

PRESLAR: Well, especially, because—you know, it’s still evening. The full extent of the damages will not reveal for today until the morning.

Right now, I do have reports of 14 counties that have some sort of power outages going on within their counties at the moment. I’ve got several reports of road closures. I know, in one city in particular, nobody is even able to get into the city. So we just got an extremely, extremely dangerous situation and we’re just taking it one step at a time.

JANSING: Well, good luck to you. And it’s kind of you to take the time to talk to us. Renee, appreciate it and good luck.

PRESLAR: Thank you.

JANSING: NBC weatherplus.com meteorologist, Jeff Ranieri, has of course been following all this. Jeff, what can you tell us?

(WEATHER REPORT)

JANSING: All right. Thanks so much, Jeff. We are going to keep our eye on that. We’ve got a lot more politics coming up. The field line from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Oh, what a night. It sure looks like we’ve got an incredible race on the Democratic side. We are still waiting for the delegate count to come in.

Chuck Todd has been in the middle of it all night. He’s got some great numbers for us and he’s going to talk all about that, coming up. But first, John McCain, who came a lot closer to wrapping up the nomination tonight. Here’s what he has to say about being the frontrunner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And although I’ve never minded the role of the underdog and I’ve relished as much as anyone come-from-behind wins. Tonight, I think, we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination of the president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: Mitt Romney now the projected winner by NBC News. That’s the GOP caucus in Alaska but obviously, not the state he was looking for out west.

The state that he was looking for was California. That would have allowed him to full drum. The question is, what does Mitt Romney do tonight, after there seems to be a coalescing around John McCain and John McCain saying he is the frontrunner. You’re taking a look at the states that has been won by Republican Mitt Romney.

Joining me now is John Yang, who is following the Romney campaign. He’s at their headquarters in Boston.

John, good morning to you. Are we expecting a very decisive meeting, sometime in the next 24 hours?

JOHN YANG, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: We are expecting a meeting, Chris.

Governor Romney had long been scheduled to spend the day in the headquarters, Wednesday. How definitive? We don’t know yet. They say it will be a meeting of frank discussions but campaign spokesman Kevin Madden said the campaign goes on. There is a scheduled speech on Thursday to the conservative political action committee.

But after that, the schedule is open. One of the topics they’re going to talk about is what does happen after Thursday. This would be a disappointing night. They had banked a lot on California. The governor had gone back for a last-minute visit there, just before returning to Massachusetts to vote today. And they have talk a lot about a surge, a movement toward California. And it’s not just losing California. He’s losing it by apparently such a big margin. They will pick up some delegates. They want to see how the delegate count comes out in California. But they cannot—it was not a good night for the governor

Chris?

JANSING: And what are you hearing from his campaign? Who’s going to be involved in this decision? And do we know much about, sort of, where Mitt Romney is headed right now?

YANG: Well, you heard Romney say himself before, of course this was before the network’s call. It’s even before the polls closed in California. Governor Romney saying the campaign goes on. They’re going all the way to the convention. But after this disappointing loss and the margin of the loss in California, we have to see what they are saying.

This is a meeting that’s going to be with the top campaign officials. It was something that campaign officials said he hadn’t spent a day, sitting down and talking to the campaign folks. It had been scheduled for a while. But certainly, it takes on a different cast, a different meeting after Tuesday’s results.

JANSING: All right. John Yang, thanks very much. Following the Romney campaign, after what was, as we just heard from John, a disappointing night for Mitt Romney. Particularly, that he didn’t do better in California. And you’ve been in the middle of all the republican number.

Joining me now is NBC News political director, Chuck Todd, who has been in the middle of all this complicated numbers. Let’s start on the Republican side since we just talk to John Yang.

And if you were an adviser to Mitt Romney, Chuck, and you go in there and you want to make the case to stay in the race, can the number support you?

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Boy, it sure doesn’t look like it. The only good news for Mitt Romney is that there are not a lot of winner-take-all primaries left. You know, I don’t mean to use our Democratic map here, but I will show a couple of them that are coming up.

You got Virginia and Texas. And the reason I bring these winner-take-all is because when you look at what John McCain built up on his delegate totals tonight, he looks like he’s going to end up with somewhere between 500 to 530 won tonight. Throwing the 93 he already had. At least, 600 plus and more than halfway to the Republican nomination.

The fact that there aren’t a lot of winner-take-all states left, Romney’s strategy of picking up more delegates could work but he’d also like to win a winner-take-all state himself. Virginia and Texas are the two next ones coming up. Virginia, February 12th. Texas, March 4th. Both very, very expensive states.

Think about those media markets, Chris. You’ve got Washington, D.C. and Virginia. You got Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. You know, a bunch of very expensive and obviously Romney would have to be self-funding for those things. So I think that when you look at what’s left from where Romney would go get delegates, it starts in these two states right here.

And that’s where he’s got to make a financial decision.

JANSING: All right, let’s go over to the Democratic side, because every year, we hear, every vote counts. Go to the polls. It’s important. Well, this year on the Democratic side, boy. It is unbelievable, Chuck.

TODD: It’s amazing. You know, I mean, my favorite is, you know, I just want to highlight here, Missouri. Because, we know it was very close and Obama, I think we say he is apparently won, depending on the vote count.

But it is close enough where you can ask for a recount. So a lot of people going—Oh, isn’t Hillary Clinton going to ask for recount.

But the recount would be to decide one delegate. Now, as close as the delegate fight is right now, you know, one delegate instead of a 36-36 split, out of the state, out of the state’s 72 delegates. 36 going to Obama. 36 going to Senator Clinton. You would have a 37-35. And, you know, every delegate counts.

But it would be an amazing thing to look for a recount there. So let’s look—we’re still waiting on Tuesdays for delegate allocations but we think in New Mexico, it’s going to literally be 13-13. OK, it’s that close. That’s what they both expect. Thirteen for the both of them. That leaves us with California. How much of a lead, how much of an advantage is Senator Clinton going to get out of California? We’ve seen some of the early numbers. Clearly, Senator Edwards had done well in the early vote.

And that has impacted some of Obama’s potential to gather some delegates. As the same day election votes come in, we’ll see if that improves. The Clinton folks think they might get a 32 delegate advantage out of California. The Obama folks think it will be more like 17 or 18. What will that do for the overall total? We have a range now of about 841 that we came up with. The Obama folks think it will be 847. OK.

Clinton’s will be 828 to 838. Pardon me there. My numbers are getting a little messy as the night wears on. It will be basically an even split.

So what does that mean going forward? We’ve got Obama who had a 15 delegate lead coming in. He will get anywhere from a four to a 15 delegate lead coming out. He will be plus, he will be plus 30. It looks like the telestrator not doing me any favors right now.

JANSING: It has had a long night, too.

TODD: Apparently it has. Plus 30. Then we have these super delegates.

People have brought them up all night. Going into tonight, Clinton has an 89 super delegate advantage. After all is said and done for Senator Clinton. Now going forward. February 9 caucuses, Washington State, Nebraska, these are some—Louisiana. What did we learn about caucus states tonight? Let’s look at these caucus states tonight. Idaho, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Alaska, what do they all have in common? They were all carried by Obama. He has done very well in these caucus states.

JANSING: Why is that, Chuck?

TODD: He has the organization. He spent the money to do this. He has a pretty good grassroots organization that pops up in these states. We’ve seen him over perform in these caucuses. He seems to have over performed in Nevada and was clearly able to do very well and win a bunch. I don’t want to receive out Kansas. That is his grandmother’s home state. She wouldn’t very happy. You throw in Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington State.

That’s about 150 delegates coming up on Saturday. Not next Tuesday. We haven’t even gotten to those Tuesday states. He could make up the 59 delegates right there.

The way he’s been winning these caucus states, let’s say he wins 2-1.

Suddenly the advantage is now her with nine delegates. And that’s with that super delegate advantage she had going into Chesapeake Tuesday.

Right, which is Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Three states even the Clinton folks believe could be an advantage to Obama. Maryland and D.C. in particular and in Virginia it will be interesting to see how much of a fight the Clinton campaign decides to put up in Virginia.

Or, do they wait for February 19th? And say you know what? Here we come, Wisconsin. A lot of beer drinking democrats up there. Those are Clinton types of democrats as we’ve learned in the exit poll. And it could be Wisconsin on February 19th. It could be the next big day. That probably won’t decide it. That will bring us to March fourth. Ohio, Texas, Ohio.

Where have we heard about that state before? Ohio being a decisive state.

JANSING: I heard something about that from Mr. Rutgers?

TODD: So between now and March 4th, the calendar suddenly tilts toward Obama. Be unless until you get to Texas and Ohio does the Clinton campaign feel like fair good shape to win some states. They are going to be aiming toward these two states. If they can sweep those with states, then they’re going to have this talking point. They can say, hey, we won New York, we won New Jersey, we won California, we won Florida, even though the Obama folks would dispute that. We won Michigan. Suddenly they can say we won the big states. Obama can win those little states all he wants. We won the big states where everybody lives. And that’s the talking point they want. I think you’re going to see the Clinton campaign shift into Ohio and Texas mode over the next three weeks. While the Obama campaign tries to tell the story I was giving you earlier which is he may have the delegate lead in a week, even including those super delegates.

Both of them are going to go into strategy meetings now and they both have arguments they can make. It is fascinating. We’re going to come back to you in a little bit. Chuck Todd who has been on top of these numbers for us all night long.

And coming up, by the numbers, we’ll look at who took which state? But first, Senator Barack Obama on uniting America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Almost one year ago to the day. We stood on the steps of the old state capitol to reaffirm a truth that was spoken there so many generations ago. That a house divided cannot stand. That we are more than a collection of re states and blue states. We are and always will be the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: There you get a good picture of what has been an extraordinarily eventful night. Super Tuesday now going into Wednesday, at least here on the east coast. It is 39 minutes past 2:00 in the morning, heading for midnight on the west coast. We have seen truly an incredible movement toward John McCain. He looks closer to where he wants to be, calling himself the front-runner, closer to wrapping up the nomination. We know that Mitt Romney and some of his top advisers will be having a meeting about what to do, whether to go forward. But on the democratic side, it has been a split, a horse race in the delegate counts. Big states versus small states.

Let’s go to NBC’s Kevin Corke right now. He has been following the Hillary Clinton campaign tonight. They had a bit of a celebration in New York City but boy, they have got a race on their hands, Kevin.

KEVIN CORKE, NBC NEWS: Yeah. No question about it. It was really fascinating to just listen to the chatter. You know, the spin room happens the same way it would happen any other time. We did this. We achieved this goal and they really enjoyed pointing to their victory saying, hey, look. That ought to show you something. We’re strong in the east with New York and strong in the west with California. By the way, I should point out, they led in the polling in Massachusetts by like 30 just a couple weeks ago. That wasn’t much of a surprise. But I understand why they’re feeling good because they know that even though the narrative may not be in their favor tomorrow in the newspapers, they do know that from a delegate standpoint, they’re right in the mix. And as Chuck pointed out, Texas and Ohio loom. They had tremendous ground organizations in both of those states in particular in, Ohio. I mean she had practically been camping there since 2004 and I think there’s no secret here on the campaign trail with the Clintons that they will be focusing because they think that will be the difference to knock it out, Chris.

JANSING: So much more, spending time this than Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana, places where caucuses are coming up quickly.

CORKE: No question about it. I think they realize that Barack Obama’s strength is in the caucus states. They also know what happens in the smaller states, that’s the strategy. They have New York. They’ve got California. If you box off Texas, you can make the argument that we are the national campaign. We can win anywhere. But I would also say, real quick. They are concerned about the narrative because I think America will wake up tomorrow morgue. They will hear on cable, they will see on the papers and on the net that Barack Obama won a lot of states. It is a turning of a page in America. It is not about race or gender. People just vote for who they like. That’s the big story. They’re a little bit concerned about that tomorrow.

JANSING: All right. Thanks very much. Appreciate it, Kevin.

Out there with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Let’s go to the west coast and bring in democratic strategist, Carl Jeffers. What is your headline tonight, Carl?

CARL JEFFERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the headline here is no surprise in California. First of all, I’m amazed at how the media made up the surge of Barack Obama in the last ten days to two weeks. And in fact, there was one poll that even showed that he had pulled ahead. The reality is that three or four week ago, Hillary Clinton had a 30-point lead. So any candidate who has a surge and gains ten or 15 point has made tremendous progress, which is what Barack Obama did. But the reality is that only meant that the lead was now cut to 10 or 15 points.

California is a major prize for Hillary Clinton because it is the biggest of the states that voted today. And it dramatizes specifically the problems that African-Americans and Hispanics have in the country as a whole. Despite what Kevin just said that we have gotten beyond race and gender. We haven’t gotten beyond race and gender. It’s just that we’re fighting in within the party, where right now race and gender there is an effort being made to minimize that.

Wait until you get out into the fall campaign. The republicans haven’t gotten past race and gender. They will not minimize it. They will in fact attempt to exacerbate those problems and that was clearly demonstrated in California where Barack Obama won white voters and he won African American voters. But Hillary Clinton won overwhelmingly Hispanic voters and one other group that no one has talked about Asian Americans. And if you come out west and you can’t do well in those groups, in terms of how the demographics have evolved, you’ll have a very difficult time winning. That’s very important that she won there.

She won in Massachusetts despite the endorsement of Kerry and Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy and she won major roads into New Jersey. Those are the type of states that democrats win in November.

Barack Obama did well by apparently winning Missouri. That’s a big win for him. And the fact that he won more numerically number of states than Hillary did but the bottom line is if you look at that map closely, most of those states that Barack Obama won, many of them are red states the democrats will not win in November anyway. What the democrats do to win presidential elections, when those big blue states that Hillary won tonight and pick up either Florida, either Ohio, or those two states, and one or two of the western states. And this year, Hillary has won Florida. And Ohio looks good for her. And those western states that were in play may not be if Barack Obama is the candidate, and we cannot bridge this African American Hispanic problem, because John McCain of all the republican candidates would generate the most sympathy and support among Hispanic candidates because he supported comprehensive immigration reform.

JANSING: All right. Let me ask you then about the bigger picture here.

We’ll come out tonight and not just tonight but potentially after these weekend caucuses with this race so incredibly close, the delegate count so incredibly great between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Are the McCain folks who think they have this wrapped up sitting back tonight and saying, democrats just keep it going. Fight among yourselves as recognize as you possibly can. Take us to the convection. In the meantime, I’m going to get together my campaign. I’m going to get my organization set. I’m going to keep raising money. The longer you guys don’t decide on a nominee, the happier I am.

JEFFERS: Well, first of all, John McCain is in no position to sit back and relax. He has a very fractional support. In fact, if you look at the vote tonight, if you add together the Romney vote plus the Huckabee vote, in almost he state with the exception of two, that vote exceeds what McCain got. If Huckabee were not in the race, Romney would actually have won more states tonight. So John McCain has a major problem trying to heal the rifts within the Republican Party.

From the democratic point, I’m not concerned about what John McCain is doing whether he is sitting back relaxing or out but I am concerned and Chris you actually raised excellent point that this thing in Democratic Party has got to come to a head. This cannot go on all the way through the summer and into the convention. Number one, money will begin to run out for both candidates. There won’t be enough candidate support in terms of finances. Number two, the more they continue to trade primary victories, the more they splinter the support and I am concerned that if it goes too far, you’ll have, if Hillary is on the ticket and Obama is not on the ticket. You’re going to lose a lot of African American votes that Obama would win. And if Obama is on the ticket and Hillary is not on the ticket, then you’re going to lose a lot of Hispanic votes and the democrats can’t afford to lose either. So regardless of what John McCain wants to do, the democrats need to look at this thing carefully and at some point here, this has to be resolved in a way that recognizes the strength of both candidates and unites and takes advantage of the incredible energy the democrats as a party have. And out raising fundraising the republicans by almost 3-1. And the bringing in of so many more minority voters, so many more Hispanic voters and so many more young voters. This feud has to stop before they drop out.

JANSING: Carl Jeffers out in Burbank for us, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Good to see you.

JEFFERS: Thank you.

(TORNADO COVERAGE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: That was one of the key numbers that campaigns are looking at on the democratic side, a huge win for Hillary Clinton with 69% of the Latino vote. This is going to be one of the areas of analysis. The race, the gender, the backgrounds of the voters, both sides targeting their strengths. Joining us now, Telemundo anchor Lucia Navarro is in Los Angeles for us. Tell us a little bit about what is behind those numbers.

LUCIA NAVARRO, TELEMUNDO: Well hey, good evening Chris. What is behind the numbers is a Latino community that has spoken tonight and they are saying, we want what Hillary Clinton wants to bring to the table, new plans for medical care, to fix the economy, to end the war. And this is what the Latino community has said. 69% of the vote, Latino vote went to Hillary Clinton. And the opinion of Mayor Villaraigosa co-chair of Clinton’s campaign in California, it was not a surprise. Because Hillary Clinton, he said Hillary Clinton would like to help the Latino community in the United States and in California.

JANSING: There has been an argument made. We were just hearing it from Carl Jeffers who is the democratic analyst that there will be a play on the republican side if John McCain is the nominee, someone who supported immigration reform as someone who could take away some of the Latino vote. As we look at what the key issues are, and obviously, the economy is something that really cuts across all areas. Is that likely? How much might John McCain be automobile to draw from the Latino community?

Especially in parts of that community that are more socially conservative than a John McCain, than a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama.

NAVARRO: Well, in a meeting with Villaraigosa, Hillary Clinton has a big, big sector in the Latino community interested in passing an immigration reform. There is a lot of others that in the not that of Mayor Villaraigosa arriving will help Hillary Clinton with the Latino communicate. Again, what happened tonight here in California, 69% of the Latino community is speaking very, very highly, even though Hillary Clinton has not really committed to doing anything for the immigration reform or any other major thing that is important for the Latino community. Even though Barack Obama has said already that he will start working on it in the first year of his material, the first term if he becomes the next president of the United States.

JANSING: Lucia Navarro from Telemundo our sister station, our sister network out a long night, we appreciate you sticking around to be with us.

NAVARRO: Thank you.

JANSING: Two huge stories we’re covering for you tonight. Of course it is Super Tuesday, now into what is being called an amazing Wednesday on the democratic side. We could be in for a long and potentially divisive fight on that side. John McCain saying he is the front-runner and we’re going to wait to hear from the Romney camp as they meet to decide what their next step is after what was a disappointing night for them on Super Tuesday. That’s the one big story. The other one, deadly tornados cutting a swath across states like Arkansas and Tennessee. 22 people now confirmed dead.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: You’re watching MSNBC’s Super Tuesday coverage. It is 3:00 a.m. on the East Coast. Just after midnight on the West Coast. Take a look at the Democratic states won, major Super Tuesday states by Hillary Clinton. But look at all the light blue as well. Both of these camps have something to crow about tonight. Both have something to spin tomorrow.

And on the Republican side, an excellent night for John McCain.

Disappointing night for Mitt Romney. He and his advisors will be meeting a little bit later today. Does he dip even further into his personal fortune and decide to soldier on in this race for the Republican nomination? John McCain declaring himself the clear frontrunner on the Republican side.

We have significant new numbers that might help explain Hillary Clinton’s win in California. Our polling found that women make up 55 percent of all Democratic primary voters, and that among those women, we saw Hillary Clinton, as she has in previous states, pulling some very strong numbers. She does particularly well among older women.

Let’s go for some more analysis on the Democratic side, to Chuck Todd who has been in the middle of these numbers all night. They could not be much closer. What are you seeing there for the Democrats, Chuck?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I went ahead and did the full—where are we going to be on delegates when all is said and done?

Approximately. And like I said, I feel like I have to say we’re going to have a margin of error on this delegate count of probably like plus or minus, about 10 delegates. But this is the total. This is with the super delegates that both the Clinton and Obama campaigns have provided us with, the full list of people so that we can verify, so we’ve looked at that list. We’re going to trust them.

So that puts us at 1140 for Hillary Clinton and 1078 for Obama. It does look like Obama is going to be able to crow tonight that he won more delegates tonight. And that on the pledged delegate front he is going to have been beating Clinton all the way through so far. That he has more pledged delegates. But those super delegates give her a plus 62 delegate advantage. Thanks to really, it’s all—the padding comes from the super delegates.

So this is where we start going into what is going to be a very active caucus and primary calendar in the rest of February. We have on February 9th Louisiana primary, and my apologies, that’s an interesting little circle. We’ll try to (INAUDIBLE). Louisiana, it is a primary, not a caucus. And then we will have two caucus states, Washington and Nebraska. Some 150 delegates at stake.

We know that Obama’s done very well in caucus states. Washington, Nebraska, places he’s already advertised. Louisiana, it’s a primary.

We’ll see. A lot of the African-American vote that used to be big in New Orleans no longer is in the state, frankly, anymore let alone in the city.

So I think Louisiana’s going to be much harder to figure out. But those two caucus states, it could be that Obama could cut into that 62 vote margin pretty quickly. Maine has some caucuses by the way on the 10th.

And then we have February 12th, Chesapeake Tuesday. We go down to our neck, you know, my neck of the woods where we have to work and live. And that’s Washington, Maryland, and D.C. Quite a few delegates there. The question is how hard does Senator Clinton contest these? She…

JANSING: You know, to Kevin who is with her campaign, he says look, they’re going to Texas and Ohio.

TODD: Right.

JANSING: It’s clear what their strategy is and from a sheer numbers perspective makes sense, doesn’t it, Chuck?

TODD: Well, when you look, look. If you look at Texas and Ohio and these are all on March 4th, OK? That’s almost a month from now. Basically four weeks from now we got the March 4th. The next big delegate prize. If they swept those, right? Let’s look at the other big states. California, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts. And then, of course, they would throw in Michigan and Florida. Of course, the Obama people would say, hey, those states don’t count because there were no delegates.

But those are a lot of large states, those are a lot of big population states. And they can sit there, and say, hey, we won these big states, that’s a pretty good talking point. We won the five largest states, four of the five largest states. Obviously, Obama won Illinois. So he needs to figure it out. He can’t let her sweep those March 4th states. That does make his job more difficult. He’s clearly doing well in these much smaller states and these medium-sized states. He’s out-organizing her.

And this is where his funding advantage. You know one of the more underreported stories about this campaign has been how much more money Obama has to spend than Clinton. He outraised her some 2-1 in the month of January. And that meant – you know, he’s been on the states in these February 9th, he’s been on TV in February 9th states for about a week longer so far than Clinton.

We’ll see if Clinton even matches his buy in the D.C. market. It’s a very expensive market. We’ll see how soon will she go up, will she go up in Wisconsin, that’s February 19th. We don’t know for sure. Or will she just bypass it like you said and just go straight to Ohio and Texas?

Those are also very expensive markets. Not quite clear whether she really wants to let him run up the score because that 62, that plus 62 advantage that she has probably gets erased in the next two weeks if the Obama people continue to have the same success in caucus states and in these medium-sized states that we’ve seen that he’s had now.

JANSING: All right. Chuck, thanks so much. He’s been up all night looking at these numbers and we’re going to continue to get in some results as the day goes on. And we’ll continue to check in.

I want to bring in our strategist, Republican Joe Walkins, Rachel Sklar, who’s with the “Huffington Post.” Thanks to both of you for being with us. Wow.

Let’s start with the Democrats. I hardly know where to start because there’s so much great stuff to talk about. Let’s first look at the idea that you have an energized electorate. We’ve never seen so many Democrats come out. They think that this race is really theirs to lose at this point, Rachel.

Let me play a little bit of the devil’s advocate. First time we’ve seen a race between these two candidates without John Edwards in it, although he did pull in some votes that were voted before he dropped out of the race. But this is a race that is fracturing along gender lines, along racial lines, and could be a protracted fight. How concerned should the Democrats be at this point about where this race sits?

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Well, I think that, you know, if you want to put a rosy spin on it, the Democrats are in great shape, they’ve got two great candidates. You know? And hey, they may form a ticket. You just never know. And that’s two great tastes that taste great together.

JANSING: Do you believe for a second that we’re going to see Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton?

SKLAR: Well, here’s something that, you know, a friend e-mailed to me.

He got e-mails from, I don’t know, from his strategist, anyhow, saying that, you know, they thought that as early returns sort of came in favoring Clinton a little bit more, that the conjecture was that maybe people at the last minute hesitated thinking that he was more likely to be her VP than vice versa, and they would still get, you know, the combination. So that may be a possibility. You just never know. I mean you really…

JOE WATKINS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You see, the Democrats have a dilemma because you have two great candidates who have a lot of support from various sectors of the Democratic Party. The problem becomes that neither one of them is going to make a VP candidate for the other. I mean if Barack Obama wins the nomination, Hillary Clinton is probably not his best choice for running mate. And the same is true if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama’s probably not her best choice for running mate.

JANSING: What’s your point then?

WATKINS: At the end of the day the candidate, whoever the nominee is has to look at it scientifically and says, who gives me what I need in order to win this election? Who gives me what I don’t already have in order to win? And the reality is, is that both of them—since of them lean left would probably need somebody a little bit more conservative than either one of them are. And Barack Obama is not helped—Hillary Clinton is not helped by going further left, especially if the fight is for the middle where McCain is strong.

Why would they give up the middle for more of the left by having a Barack Obama as your running mate? So they have a real dilemma. At the same time, if they don’t make up, I mean, the longer this campaign goes, the longer they fight, the longer it stays the way it is now where the two campaigns are neck and neck and battling for every single vote in every single state that ends up being a net loss for the Democratic Party.

JANSING: And this gives John McCain potentially time to go back to the conservatives in his party, because we saw James Dobson, obviously, a long-time conservative leader, he basically said in a statement today, I mean, you know, the votes weren’t even counted, I wouldn’t vote for John McCain, you know, under any circumstances.

SKLAR: Sure, he can join Ann Coulter (INAUDIBLE).

WATKINS: Right.

JANSING: But it gives John McCain time…

WATKINS: To heal.

JANSING: To try to heal and bring his party together. From his perspective, talk some sense into them the longer the Democrats (INAUDIBLE).

SKLAR: And we know that he’s capable of coming back.

JANSING: Yes. He has certainly shown that.

WATKINS: There are always going to be a few people who are going to say, you know what, I’m just not going to go there, I’m not going to join with the ticket. But at the end the day, I think that John McCain has an excellent chance of mending fences with all the Republicans out there, with conservatives, especially if he has on his ticket somebody who meets the needs of conservatives.

You’ve had a lot of very strong visible conservatives like Rick Santorum come out and say I won’t support him, James Dobson saying the same thing. But a conservative running mate for John McCain, perhaps goes a long way toward mending some of those fences.

SKLAR: Right now.

JANSING: What about Mike Huckabee in all this? He has an unexpectedly strong showing tonight.

WATKINS: Great night for Mike Huckabee. I mean Mike Huckabee is a candidate, doesn’t have a lot of money, he’s terribly under funded.

JANSING: He has no money.

WATKINS: That’s exactly.

SKLAR: He’s the inverse of Mitt Romney.

JANSING: Yes.

WATKINS: But Mike Huckabee is a likeable candidate. And certainly these

today primaries favored him especially in the southern states.

JANSING: He’s a like a presidential contender seriously?

SKLAR: Why not?

WATKINS: Very possibly. I mean he’s not going to have enough votes to broker that kind of deal but generally he’s got, you know, a significant portion, certainly a higher percentage of delegates than anybody at this point thought he would have. I mean many people thought that after he lost South Carolina that he was done, kaput, finished. And after his showing in Florida, that he was just, you know, out of the race altogether.

But stunning upsets, stunning wins for him in West Virginia, where McCain’s people joined with his people to give Huckabee the win, just to keep Romney from winning West Virginia. And again, in Georgia, in Georgia he won. Alabama he wins and, of course, in his home state of Arkansas.

SKLAR: You can’t—count Huckabee out because this is, I guess, the third time that he’s surged. You know, there was this sort of Huckabee surge in December, all of a sudden everybody noticed him. Then he won Iowa. And now tonight. He kept saying, don’t count me out, and you know.

WATKINS: In states where there are large percentages of evangelical voters like in the Deep South. And now with people like Fred Thompson and some of the others out of the race, Huckabee has a chance to get all those votes for himself. He won Iowa with the evangelical vote and with his network of ministers in that first important caucus. That’s what gave him his momentum. But he lacked the money to go into New Hampshire, weren’t even to go to South Carolina, and really do much other than to organize a group of volunteers. But with Thompson out of the race…

SKLAR: But he is a whiz in the media.

JANSING: We only got a minute so I want to go back to the Democrats for a second. When you look at some of these exit polls it’s very clear. If people wanted change, they voted for Barack Obama. If people wanted experience, they voted for Hillary Clinton. Both would argue they have an electability argument. Hillary Clinton’s going to look at that map and she’s going to say, I’ve won the big states. These are the states that the Democrats have to win in November.

Barack Obama is going to talk about the great number of states that he’s won. He’s going to talk about that change argument. He’s going to look at the young voters and say, I’m going to bring people to the polls who have never gone to the polls before.

How do you focus those arguments and who wins them?

SKLAR: I mean I couldn’t say, because you’re going to be hearing all of this spin and more tomorrow. And it’s just, you know—it’s so perfectly balanced that it’s really hard to do. I think that it depends on what’s more important to you. Do you think the big states are more important? Or do you think the little states are more important? Do you think momentum is more important or do you think experience? I mean this is…

JANSING: This clearly not the momentum right now?

WATKINS: I think that Barack Obama inspires people. That’s what gives him some semblance of momentum, especially with voters who feel disenfranchised. But for the grown-ups in the party, the folks that are more practical who may not necessarily be inspired by Hillary Clinton but who feel so important for a Democrat to win this time, I think they’re going with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And I think she has—makes a great case. She says—if she says tomorrow, you know what? I won the big states, I won California, I won New York, I won New Jersey, I even won Massachusetts, even after Teddy Kennedy came out for Barack Obama…

SKLAR: Right. And that was (INAUDIBLE), but she was leading in Massachusetts. It was unrealistic to create expectations in Massachusetts.

WATKINS: But she’ll say that Barack Obama won states that Democrats aren’t going to win anyway in the fall , like Alabama and Georgia and some of the other ones in the Deep South where there are large populations of African-Americans but they won’t be red states come fall.

JANSING: All right. Well, we’ve got a lot more to talk about. And you guys, I think, are you going to stick around. Will you stick around, Joe? Just stick around…

WATKINS: All night long.

SKLAR: Absolutely.

JANSING: Fantastic.

WATKINS: All night long.

JANSING: All right. This is my crack team here. We’re going to talk more on them coming up. Rachel Sklar, Joe Watkins, thanks very much.

Appreciate you both being here.

WATKINS: Thanks, Chris.

JANSING: Of course, tonight the other big story, those terrible tornados, deadly tornados sweeping across cross the south. The storm blamed for a natural gas explosion. Take a look at these pictures from Tennessee. We’re going to have more on that.

You’re watching MSNBC’s all-night coverage of Super Tuesday, a day that brought, as we mentioned, some surprising results for Mike Huckabee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, ’08 PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL: You know, over the past few days a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two-man race. Well, you know what? It is. And we’re in it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: Twenty-one minutes past the hour. Look at what’s going on in some of these big races. On the Republican side, John McCain taking California with 43 percent of the vote. Big night for John McCain by the way. There you see his win in another huge state, a very tough, in fact, disappointing night for Mitt Romney on the Republican side.

Mike Huckabee surprisingly strong in a number of states. One of those he took, Georgia, with 34 percent of the vote there just surpassing John McCain, who has 47 percent of the vote. Another important state, a big state with a lot of delegates, Illinois. And there you see John McCain winning as well in Arizona. Of course, that is his state. So that’s no big surprise there with a large percentage of that vote now coming in.

We’re also following another big story for you, and that is, of course, the weather. The death toll continuing to climb after a string of deadly tornados sweeping across the south.

NBC Weatherplus.com meteorologist Jeff Ranieri has literally been here, you must be getting close to 24 hours now, all day, all night, and this has been just incredibly devastating.

JEFF RANIERI, NBC WEATHERPLUS.COM: Yes, it sure has. There’s a strong line of showers and thunderstorms really hasn’t let up now for about a 13-hour period. And we have had over 50 reports of tornados and over 20 deaths throughout Kentucky, sections here of Arkansas, and also into western Tennessee. We have some video that came in to us. I’m pretty sure the control booth has it. Here it is. Look at this. This is one of the tornados that was caught on home video in Atkins, Arkansas on the northern end of the state. And this is what we saw repeatedly in and throughout Tennessee and Arkansas as well. These large track, long-lived thunderstorms that produced these intense tornados.

By the looks of that video, that looks to be like an F-2, F-3. That video came in to us from some of the same spots where we have reports in northern Arkansas of over 10 deaths coming in to us here at NBC. Quite a bit of damage. Certainly very, very devastating for the folks living throughout Arkansas, Tennessee, and also Kentucky where these deaths are continuing to add up. And of course as we head into daylight and the rescue crews are able to get out there, we will, of course, most likely learn some more unfortunate numbers.

Now we are not in the clear just yet. You can see this line of showers and thunderstorms we’re still following from the Ohio valley down into Mississippi and Alabama. Numerous watch boxes still in effect. I do think at this point we’re over from the most intense portion of this event. But we still have some tornado warnings that we’re following throughout central Tennessee, also in Alabama and Mississippi. No tornados on the ground as of last check. But you still need to be cautious here if you live in Tennessee, also Alabama, Georgia, and even right up into West Virginia as we head throughout the next two to three hour period.

Now as we take you in here to my biggest area of concern, it continues to be Nashville. Just to the south of the city here on Interstate 24 we do have a tornado warning that is out for some rotation within this thunderstorm. Again, as this line continues on its path towards Knoxville.

Meanwhile we showed you the video from Atkins, Arkansas. That is where right now we have had reports here of over seven deaths or at least seven deaths. Homes that are completely destroyed and, of course, multiple injuries. And that goes along with F-2, F-3 tornados, possibly even larger. And of course, all that will be confirmed as we head into tomorrow and the days to come as daylight sets in.

Another area here where we got nailed was Memphis. Just to the south of the downtown area in Germantown, we had what looked to be from my eyes a large super cell that stayed on the ground for about 30 to 45 minutes.

There’s the video. You can see again just absolutely devastating. Again, possibly an F-2 or F-3 tornado. We know winds were clocked at over 60 miles per hour. Numerous hail reports as well. And again, this is in western Tennessee, around the Memphis area. At least four people have been confirmed dead, multiple injuries and, of course, power outages.

Now this thunderstorm cell we followed, I turned back the radar so we can actually track this cell. And this is what we mean by super cell.

Let this loop around here. It’s going to come back. And you can see right here near Memphis, as this starts to get going, here we go right there. You can see that the thunderstorm cell goes right along Interstate 40. But again it’s a very long-lived thunderstorm cell. And that’s what can produce multiple tornado touchdowns. And that’s what we had happening throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, and also throughout portions of Arkansas as well.

Now, nearby in Jackson, Tennessee, on the Interstate 40 corridor, we also had some severe damage to Union University. A third of the campus has been damaged. We’ve heard reports in from the university of this and also multiple injuries where students were trapped earlier. But the good news, as of the latest, we have not heard of any deaths coming from Union. But again, a tremendous amount of damage coming to us from Jackson, Tennessee and as of the latest, we do know that we’re going to have – we ll have crews out here throughout the morning.

Now if that’s not enough here when it comes to severe weather over the past 12 to 13 hours, the same front that produced tornadic activity is moving so slowly that we continue to find flood watches and warnings out in advance of this front over the next six to 18-hour period. So while we’ll be done with tornadic activity by about 9:00 this morning, let’s say, we’re going to have major flooding concerns on our hands.

So Chris, it’s over yet. Jackie Moretski will be in about two hours or so. I’ll get some sleep and then come back. But it’s going to be a wild day still yet to come.

JANSING: Yes, you’ve got two hours until work. So…

RANIERI: Yes, I do.

JANSING: I know you’re thinking about that place and it’s not coming yet.

RANIERI: I need some coffee.

JANSING: All right. Thank you so much.

All right. We want to talk more about what’s going on in politics because it has been an incredible night. John McCain moving a step closer to the GOP nomination, declaring himself again the lead, the leader on the Republican side for the Republican nomination. Not so clear what’s going on the Democratic side where the delegate count is just about split.

Joining us on the phone, Jim Brewer, political editor with the “San Francisco Chronicle.”

Jim, it’s good to talk to you. What’s your headline in your newspaper say today?

JIM BREWER, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: We have both McCain and Obama winning. But the delegate counts are pretty, I’ll say, pretty close, although McCain may have pulled off a pretty good sweep here. And we’re not – we couldn’t quite tell by the time we had to close out. But he might well have won almost every county, which would really rack up his delegate count high.

JANSING: Yes. We know that Mitt Romney was really hoping for a good showing in California. It was something key to his decision-making about whether to go forward here. What’s behind those numbers? Why wasn’t it closer in California on the Republican side?

BREWER: I don’t think anyone really took Romney very seriously. He isn’t that—he didn’t come off, at least up in the north, as a very likeable, trustworthy kind of a guy. I think Huckabee was actually even better liked up here. I don’t think there was—I don’t think anyone took—once Giuliani started to fade, I don’t think there was anybody but McCain.

JANSING: Let me talk a little bit about money. We were saying with Chuck Todd, our political director, that that may be one of the underreported stories here, that the advantage on the Democratic side really is for Barack Obama, because he has been just putting together so much money, it’s allowed him to put together really great organizations. We saw how it paid off for him in the caucus states. We’ve got a bunch of caucuses that are coming up in the next few days. And again, those are states where Barack Obama is expected to do very well.

California, a huge state for fundraising. What’s going on there? And is this essentially a bottomless pit of fundraising? Because there has to be a point, especially if this Democratic race goes on, at which there just isn’t any more money out there, or will there always be money out there?

BREWER: Probably the economic situation the way it is, you could wonder, I guess. But it’s always been that way as far as I can remember. It’s been a big fundraising bastion for Silicon Valley and, of course, the San Francisco Bay Area and Hollywood. So my guess would be it’s not going to dry up any time soon.

JANSING: We’re going to see a lot of candidates out there doing some fundraising.

Jim brewer of the “San Francisco Chronicle,” it’s been a long night for everybody. Thanks so much, appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.

BREWER: Thank you.

JANSING: Let’s come back to this side of the country. Bring in Steve Kornacki, columnist with the “New York Observer.” Let me touch on that point a little bit, Steve, before we get to some other points. New York, obviously, a big fundraising state. As we look forward to the democratic contest, how much is this going to play into it? Who can get that money right now? Barack Obama has the clear advantage.

STEVE KORNACKI, NEW YORK OBSERVER: I don’t think at the end of the day the democratic nomination is going to be decided because one of these candidates goes broke or can’t afford to continue in the race. They’re both very well funded. When you look closer at the numbers I think you see a particular advantage that jumps out at you about Obama. That is the number of small dollar donations he has and the loyalty of his small dollar donors.

That means his campaign, if they’re in a crunch for cash or want to overwhelm Hillary Clinton with money, they can go back to these loyal, grassroots donors and ask them, can you cut us a check for another $50, $100? A lot of these people are nowhere near that $2,300 limit for donations to the primary season. They’re going to keep giving that at $50, $100 a clip. There’s so many of them out there, and committed to Barack Obama, he can raise it seems like endless money in the primaries.

JANSING: As these two come out today here on the east coast and they do their spin, does one or the other have a stronger story, a stronger case to make?

KORNACKI: I think in general, if you just want to look at Super Tuesday for what it was, it was a near perfect tie all right delegate count from everything we’re here is going to be just about dead even. Hillary Clinton won the big states on the coast, she won New Jersey, Massachusetts, California. Pretty comfortable margins in those states.

She also made some inroads in the south. And in a state like Arizona, another nice win for her.

At the same time, Barack Obama can turn around and say he won the most states, he won Missouri, a nice bellwether state in the fall. He won all these small red states. He can make the claim democrats in the most republican areas of the country feel more comfortable with him on the top of the ticket than they do with Hillary Clinton. That’s a powerful statement for a party that’s going to consider electability for one of the criteria for deciding its nominee.

But I think you have to look going forward, if it’s tied tonight, look at what comes next. That’s where you have to say advantage Obama. It starts this weekend. I think Louisiana is a primary but I think you have caucuses in Washington State, Nebraska. These are states that on paper I think Obama might have advantage. Especially I think Louisiana’s a primary but I think you have caucuses in Nebraska and Washington State.

You go to next week, you’re going to have Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia. I’ll just about guarantee Obama’s going to win District of Columbia. Maryland has the largest African-American population of any state in the north, about 28 percent of that state. Could be very competitive.

There’s a lot of areas that I could see Hillary doing well. States Obama can win, he can win Virginia. Further up than that, Wisconsin comes up, a state that traditionally favors progressive candidates. Obama has opportunity to in terms of delegates and momentum, put a little distance between himself and Hillary Clinton over the next weeks. The ball is in his court. If he can take advantage of that, he might have a leg up as we move into March and we go further along in the process. And if Hillary Clinton can sort of hold him in check, maybe the advantage moves back in her direction.

JANSING: There’s a very interesting dynamic going on as well on the republican side. So we see John McCain coming forward and he says, I’m the leader for the nomination. He’s looking very confident. We talked to Chuck Dodd who says he doesn’t see how somebody makes the argument with pure numbers today to Mitt Romney and says to him, look, here’s how you realistically stay in this race. Given that, you have this interesting sort of alliance between Mike Huckabee, who did better than expected tonight by all measures, and John McCain. Yet in a sense it’s sort of contributed to this race being drawn out a little bit more, being a little more protracted, certainly contributed to the woes of Mitt Romney.

KORNACKI: Well, I think the story is and I agree, it’s tough to see John McCain being denied the nomination right now. But the real headline to me is, there is no way that John McCain is the nominee of the Republican Party in 2008 if it’s not for Mike Huckabee. There was an informal alliance that was struck between the two of them in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. Remember, both had very little money, they couldn’t afford the kind of national operation Romney was putting in place.

Basically the deal was, Huckabee and McCain would team up, Huckabee would win Iowa and prevent Romney from getting victory there. McCain would turn around and win New Hampshire over Romney and prevent him from getting a break-out win there. The two of them would body be viable and go on. What nobody really counted on was the fact that Romney was able to win Michigan a week after New Hampshire and stay in this thing.

But you look tonight, Romney’s last-ditch effort to stay in this race and make a stand in this race came in the last week, trying to position himself as the true conservative candidate, trying to rally the conservative base around him against disloyal John McCain. And ground zero for that strategy’s going to work is in southern states.

Conservative southern states. Places like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee.

These are all states that Mitt Romney needed to win for this strategy to work. It wasn’t going to work in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York.

Mike Huckabee was standing in his way down there. It’s because he took a giant component of what was supposed to be or the Romney people hoped would be the Romney coalition, Christian conservative voters. Huckabee took them away, prevented Romney from have along crack at them, prevented Romney from winning those states. Tonight, Mike Huckabee won a bunch of very nice states in the south. John McCain won the lion’s share of delegates. Mitt Romney’s left with a few states nobody contested.

JANSING: A tough come to Jesus meeting today with his advisors. Steve Kornacki with the “New York Observer,” thanks Steve, great seeing you.

We’re going to continue to cover the political story. It is a fascinating one. We’re also covering the weather. About to hear from one of the reporters who tracked those tornados across Arkansas and Tennessee. That’s coming up next.

First, it is the morning after and Hillary Clinton is holding a lead on the delegate count.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now for seven years we have seen President Bush’s answers. They don’t know what’s at stake in this election but we do. We know what we need is someone ready on day one to solve our problems and seize those opportunities. Because when the bright lights are off and the cameras are gone, who can you count on to listen to you, to stand up for you, to deliver solutions for you?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(TORNADO COVERAGE)

JANSING: Now let’s go back to politics. The vote totals are just the surface of this story. Exit polls give us the why behind the vote. Now a look and there’s some fascinating numbers, there Alex.

ALEX: There absolutely are a ton of them to go through for you. Chris, there are some pretty big questions answered about the democratic candidates. We’ll show you how these votes played out. One of the major questions going into these contests was, would Obama do well enough among white voters? The answer is apparently yes. He needed to do better than 40 percent and he did, as you see there for yourself. Getting 40 percent of the vote. Drawing an even line there. Earlier it had been up to 43 percent. As we compile these numbers we’re seeing that dropping slightly. Clinton 53 percent of the vote. He did better among whites than earlier contests certainly.

For Clinton the question was, could she hang on to her strong Hispanic base of support in the face of Obama’s late surge in the state of California? The answer there appears to be yes. Nationally she outdistances Obama among Hispanic voters, at this point 64 percent to 34 percent. So there’s quite a break right there.

And while we know that the economy was is single biggest issue across the party lines we also know that perceptions played a huge role in how people voted there. Most important quality that democratic primary voters wanted was change. There you see 51 percent of the voters are saying, this is the key quality in the candidate that they would choose.

And that is where Barack Obama took an overwhelming percentage of the vote.

When you check out the measure of who would make the best commander in chief, which is not a small question at all in a time of war like this, it’s Hillary Clinton who wins on that count with 51 percent of the vote there to 36 percent for Obama. This is of course ironically the same Hillary Clinton who has had to defend her vote for the war. So it’s very interesting to see how people vote based on what they say going into that polling booth. Then when they come out they say something perhaps different in terms of reasoning. We’re tracking all this throughout the night.

JANSING: We’ll talk to you again, Alex. Thank you.

On that very question about Iraq, the economy, let’s turn to MSNBC military analyst and retired U.S. Army Colonel Jack Jacobs. When you and I talked six months ago, everybody said this election is going to be decided on the war. As you see it now and as you talk to folks how consequential do you think it’s going to be in the big picture?

COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I think in the general election it’s going to be very important. The administration’s already said it wants to reduce its footprint in Iraq, they want to get down to maybe 100,000 troops, which is a substantial reduction, by time the general election occurs in November. Well, a lot is going to happen between now and then, both in the campaign and in Iraq. And it’s going to be extremely difficult to get those numbers down. At a time when activity without al Qaeda is starting to step up and there’s lots of fighting between Sunni and Shia that’s starting to pick up. And in addition to that the problems that we have with al Qaeda and the Taliban popping up again in the springtime in Afghanistan. So the war’s going to, while it’s not very important right now in the primary, it’s going to be very important in the general election.

JANSING: There’s something really interesting that we’re just getting word of. The chairman of the joint chiefs, Admirable Michael Mullen, has testimony that he’s going to present today. And he is going to say that U.S. forces are significantly stressed, no surprise to you, by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while simultaneously trying to stem the tide of violent extremism elsewhere. This is a quote from what the Associated Press has gotten from that statement. “The pace of ongoing operations has prevented our forces from fully training for the full spectrum of operations and impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats.” Now, this is already being interpreted as giving some today to anti-war democrats who are basically going to say, we need to get this bill passed at the very least it’s going to get people more time home between tours of duty. What do you read into that and how it might play out politically?

JACOBS: It’s very interesting because John McCain, who’s likely to be the nominee on the republican side, has said we don’t have enough troops in Iraq in order to fight the war. He’s absolutely right about that. But we also don’t have enough troops to fight anything. We’re short of people in Afghanistan. And because of the long tours of duty in Iraq, they’re now at 15 months for the army. It means that troops are getting no rest. Recently the secretary of defense gates has said, I want to reduce these tours of duty because troops are stressed out, from 15 months to 12 months. You can’t. You’ve got to do the math. You can’t do that without reducing the number of people that we actually have in Iraq. This is going to be extremely difficult for John McCain, because at the end of the day if we’re going to actually prevail in Iraq, it’s going to take more people, not fewer people. And he’s going to be face to face with reality.

On the democrat side, both of the democrats but particularly Obama said they want to reduce troops right away. Obama would reduce troops within 30 days and have them all out in 16 months. You can do that but you can’t do that without Iraq falling apart. So both republicans and democrats are going to be faced with very difficult choices in the real world of using the military instrument of power.

JANSING: Can you hear the republicans making the argument that the military scaled back during the peace years of the former Clinton administration, and you can hear John McCain saying that’s why we’re in this predicament right now, and it’s only going to get worse if the democrats are elected?

JACOBS: Well, you’re going to have him say that. And he’s going to be right about that. At the end of the day however, both republicans and democrats have made it extremely difficult for a politician to say that we need to increase the size of the military. We’ve got

an all-volunteer military force. For most people that’s great because they don’t have to serve. We only have about half of 1 percent of the American public in uniform. Contrast that with the last big war, the second world war, in which we had every single household of the United States had somebody involved in the war effort. It’s easy to make commitments to use the military instrument of power when you don’t have to put anybody in uniform to do it. But we’re not going to be able to fulfill our worldwide commitments unless we increase the size of the military establishment. And more than the 20,000 or 40,000 --

JANSING: None of the candidates are coming out for a draft so what do you do?

JACOBS: It means you’re going to have to scale back some of the missions we already have under way that are less significant from the standpoint of protecting the United States of America. You’re going to hear this from the democrats. They’re going to say, get out of Iraq, free up 160,000 troops many of whom we can send immediately to Afghanistan.

Secretary Gates recently said that we’re not going to send additional troops to Afghanistan because we need them right now in Iraq.

Well, come springtime and the offensive begins in Afghanistan, there are lots and lots of problems in the southern part of Afghanistan. You’re liable to hear him change his tune. At the end of the day you cannot defend a country of 300 million people with half of 1 percent of the population in uniform. That is going to have to change and it’s going to take politicians, not just the president, policies and the congress to stand up for what they believe in, if they believe in defending the republic. It’s going to take a change and some leadership to change the Americans—the voters’ attitude about that.

JANSING: While we may say the economy comes first in the polls, Iraq is still in there, people concerned about security in the United States.

We’ll hear a lot of it in debates once we get the nominees on the republican and democratic side. Thanks so much. Always good to sew you.

We’re going to continue to follow politics on Super Tuesday, now into Wednesday. We’re also following those deadly storms. Tornados across the south. 26 deaths now. We’ll be talking with a reporter who has been tracking those storms.

(TORNADO COVERAGE)

JANSING: All right, Jeff, thanks so much. We’ll be checking in with you.

Jeff’s going to for another few hours. This is all covered. We have a lot more politics coming up as Olympic a split on the democratic side.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in a tight race for the nomination.

John McCain won the big states tonight, Mitt Romney, hoped to have a stronger showing in California, but didn’t. A lot more coming up on this Super Tuesday now into Wednesday, right here on the place for politics, MSNBC.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good morning.  Welcome back to MSNBC, the place for politics. 

The morning after Super Tuesday.  We have the latest delegate counts for you.  Let’s take a look at the numbers.  You see John McCain, who has nearly—more than twice as many as Mitt Romney, after a disappointing night for the former Massachusetts governor.  Mike Huckabee still in this.  He says he is not getting out. 

So even though McCain won big states tonight—and we’ll show you some of the breakdowns of who won what, Huckabee and Romney still very much in this. 

Also, let’s take a look at what’s going on.  Do we have those numbers on the Democratic side?  Because Hillary Clinton with 582 so far, Barack Obama 485.  But factoring into that are those super delegates.  The actual count from tonight, the straight delegate count is much closer, with 497 delegates for Hillary Clinton, 489 for Barack Obama. 

Quite a race there.  This, of course, the first head-to-head match-up that we’ve seen between those two candidates since John Edwards dropped out of the race.  He has 26 delegates, by the way. 

And there is the number from California.  A lot was made of the fact that Barack Obama was closing in on Hillary Clinton.  But she still posts a solid win there, a decisive win, by 13 points, at least at this point, over Barack Obama. 

All right, let’s take a look at the state-by-state results, more of them.  New York, the other big state won by Hillary Clinton.  Of course, that is her adopted home state.  She gave her victory speech, as it was, in New York City.  She and Bill Clinton have a house in Chappaqua. 

Barack Obama in Illinois, his home state.  Again, a predictable win for him there.  Again, they split these contests, but basically, he won in some of the smaller states.  Hillary Clinton is going to make the argument of places like New York, California, New Jersey, delegate-rich states that are important to the Democrats in November.  She posted wins. 

She also won in Massachusetts.  She’d been leading there, although there had been some talk, with Ed—Ted Kennedy and others supporting her, the sort of Democratic elite supporting, rather, Barack Obama there, he could make a run for it.  But obviously, she won Massachusetts.

Barack Obama, doing very well across the South.  Places like Georgia, where he got 66 percent of the vote.  And you’re going to see, rolling through some of these other states, where Barack Obama posted wins tonight. 

This is one, Missouri, that’s interesting, where there’s even talk that there could be a recount, because they have split those delegates right down the middle.  We may be getting to a point where one delegate is very important. 

Tennessee, a win for Hillary Clinton there, 54 percent of the vote for her there.  And Arizona, as well, in the Southwest.  Another area that’s going to be interesting, and we’ll see how contested it is, come the general election. 

Barack Obama, winning again in the South in Alabama, with 99 percent of the votes counted there.  And in Connecticut, a win for Barack Obama.  A tight race there in the east. 

Oklahoma goes to Hillary Clinton.  And we’re scrolling through to Arkansas, of course, where her husband was governor for so many years. 

An expected win and a big win for Hillary Clinton. 

Barack Obama taking Alaska by about a 3 to 1 margin.  Also, a similar huge margin for him in Kansas.  Now, those votes are all counted in most of those states. Again, in Utah, 57 percent for Barack Obama. 

That’s a state, obviously, that will go to the Republicans, as will Idaho, come November.  But a big win for Barack Obama there.  And in Delaware, 53 percent for Barack Obama. 

North Dakota, again, so many of these states that caucus.  We see the strength of Barack Obama when it comes to the caucuses, and there are several more coming up in the coming days, and we’ll be watching for that. 

New Mexico still too close to call.  But as we stand now, advantage to Hillary Clinton.  We think when we get to those next caucus states, Barack Obama will pick up some wins.  It’s going to be very, very close. 

We’re going to continue to follow all of this.  We’ll be talking with our Democratic and Republican strategists.  But before we do that, we want to bring you up to date on those deadly storms in the South and Midwest.  The death toll now stands at at least 26. 

Twisters touched down, we believe, in at least four states.  In fact, a tornado caused a dormitory collapse at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  Another twister could be to blame for a deadly explosion at a natural gas facility in Sumner County.  Look at these pictures coming to us.

We’re going to continue to follow that.  And we’re going to have staff in the weather center throughout the morning for you. 

But let’s go back to politics now, bring in our Republican and MSNBC political analyst Joe Watkins.  And Rachel Sklar, media editor with the “Huffington Post.”

Let’s do big picture first, because you could argue, certainly, that, ideologically, the Republicans are a lot farther apart.  There’s a lot more daylight between Mitt Romney and John McCain, Mike Huckabee and John McCain, than there is on the Democratic side. 

You look at the voting records of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, you’re not going to see a lot of fighting.  You see them sort of coming down to the minutia of their healthcare plans to find differences between those two sides.

So why is it the inverse when we’re looking at the results, that there seems to be much more of a race on the Democratic side, Rachel?

RACHEL SKLAR, MEDIA EDITOR, “HUFFINGTON POST”:  Well, I mean, I think that there’s a race on the Democratic side, because you’ve got these two candidates.  There’s such a tension.  They’re like a yin and yang of each other.  And—you know, it just—it divides up so neatly, almost.  You know, he gets money (ph) states; she gets the big states.  The numbers are just so close. 

So I think that—but I think it’s—it’s not quite accurate to say that there isn’t that on the Republican side.  You really saw both Huckabee and McCain tearing into Mitt Romney.  There’s no love lost there.  And... 

JOE WATKINS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Although McCain tonight was very, very big.  This shows that he must be the frontrunner...

JANSING:  Right.

WATKINS:  ... because in his speech tonight, he congratulated both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and then had kind words for them. 

And it’s been a very, very bitter campaign thus far, certainly between Mitt Romney and John McCain.  It’s been a real battle of the words going forward.  But tonight, kindness and sweetness and light from John McCain, which shows that he clearly is the frontrunner now in this race. 

JANSING:  Sure.  And is there any way you see anything upsetting the apple cart in that regard?

WATKINS:  Well, it’s going to be very, very hard.  I mean, Mitt Romney is a good guy.  He has a great record.  He’s a smart guy.  He’s been a very successful businessman. 

JANSING:  But a disappointment for him tonight in California. 

WATKINS:  A big disappointment in not winning California, of course.  He spent a lot of money.  He’s raised a lot of money, spent a lot of money.  And yet, still doesn’t seem to be connecting in the way that he’d like to connect.  I mean, he really needed to win California. 

And he won a lot of primaries tonight, but he didn’t win the ones that he needed to win, like California.  And had he won California, of course, there would be a much different story out there.  Clearly, John McCain would not be so clearly the frontrunner as he is right now. 

SKLAR:  Probably not so magnanimous, either. 

JANSING:  And what do we make of the split on the Democratic side in race and gender?  Let’s, for example, look at New Jersey.  Mrs. Clinton carried six of ten white votes.  Mr. Obama was favored by nine out of ten blacks. 

Voters who wanted to bring change voted two to one with Obama.  Nine out of ten of those seeking experience cast their ballots for Mrs.

Clinton.  You’ve got to wonder how they’re going to settle up this divide, Rachel. 

SKLAR:  Dream ticket.  That’s—that’s the easy answer.  I know, I know. 

JANSING:  I’m still waiting for somebody to make the argument to me that you’re going to see Clinton/Obama, or Obama/Clinton.  What either of them gets out of the other.

SKLAR:  I mean, it’s too seen to think about that.  I mean, but it is—it is a very easy answer to that question, because that is a hard question.  You’ve got—like I said, it’s a very neat split. 

WATKINS:  It’s a neat split, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s a realistic one.  I mean, I think the truth becomes, if whoever the nominee is, they have to take as their running mate that person who gives them what they don’t seem to have.

SKLAR:  Sure, but to this question, just like what to make of the split?  And I think because we’ve seen—those are—those are trends that are continuing.  We haven’t seen—we’ve maybe seen sort of fluctuations in them, but... 

WATKINS:  I don’t think it’s unrealistic to suppose, though, that, if Hillary Clinton were the nominee, and Barack Obama was not on the ticket, that African-American voters would certainly not vote for Hillary Clinton.

SKLAR:  Oh, no.  Absolutely. 

WATKINS:  I think African-American voters still would end up voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton anyway.  And a lot of the folks that have supported Barack Obama end up coming to Hillary Clinton.

SKLAR:  Obama is making the argument that—that people who support him are less likely to support Clinton than the inverse. 

WATKINS:  That’s probably right, because he’s brought in a lot of new voters, a lot of young people, a lot of people who in the past haven’t been aligned with either party.  So he’s really generated a lot of excitement among the people in the past who maybe haven’t voted, who maybe haven’t been involved in politics. 

And that’s been, really, his strength so far.  It’s the reason why he’s raised so much money, is because he’s raising a lot of money from new donors, small, giving donors, and they’re able to give again and again and again.  He’s raised great amounts (ph) doing that.

JANSING:  Let me ask you about the whole money thing.  Because if it was money, obviously, Mitt Romney would be winning. 

WATKINS:  Yes.

JANSING:  I mean, let us not forget that John McCain was given up for dead this summer. 

WATKINS:  Right.

JANSING:  And people wondered whether he could even stay in this race.  And he did it on a shoestring.

SKLAR:  Well, after New Hampshire, you know, the money poured into him.  I think money is a symptom.  You can’t—you can’t say—well, you know, you can say Mitt Romney’s $35 million comes from a source that is very supportive of Mitt Romney.  And it’s totally convinced of the Mitt Romney magic.  It’s Mitt Romney.

It’s different for Obama.  That—you know, the money is a symptom of the faith and the hope, hope, you know, in the movement. 

WATKINS:  Well, truly.  I mean—I mean, Barack Obama has inspired so many people to get involved who’ve never been involved before.  And a lot of these people are investing in him, and they’re—which means they’re giving him money.  Which is why he’s raising money in record amounts. 

At the same time, it’s not just about money.  It’s also about message and about fastening—fashioning a message that complements who you are and what you’re all about. 

SKLAR:  Sure.

WATKINS:  And that’s been hard so far for Mitt Romney.  I mean, he’s got a great story, I think, certainly, as a business person.  But look at what happened in Florida, where he is the business person and McCain is the person who admittedly may not be as sharp on economic matters. 

McCain still got the vote of Floridians who cared about the economy, more so than Mitt Romney. 

SKLAR:  I think you had it before when you said that he just failed to connect.  I think that’s what it comes down to. 

JANSING:  All right.  So then you have Clinton and Obama connecting with very distinct constituencies.  Three days from now, as it is now the 6th, on the 9th, we’re going to have a series of smaller states that are going to be voting, mostly caucuses, expected to go for Barack Obama.  This race is going to tighten even more in terms of delegate counts.

But then you’ve got Virginia.  You’ve got D.C., Chesapeake Tuesday coming up.  The real key, clearly, is going to be on March 4th, because you’ve got Texas.  You’ve got Ohio.  Huge states, large delegate counts. 

SKLAR:  Latino population. 

JANSING:  Will it be decided on March 4th, or is this race going to go beyond?

WATKINS:  I think it may go beyond.

SKLAR:  Not—a consensus.

WATKINS:  But I think, at the end of the day, both candidates have to—on the Democratic side and the candidates on the Republican side have to know what their battle plan is and then stick to their knitting. 

It’s an—all a matter of command focus here, not getting too carried away with a win here or a win there, but rather looking again at the delegate race, realizing that the battle is won by who has the most delegates.  That’s who wins the nomination. 

And the candidate—the candidate or candidates that keep their eye on the ball, their eye on the prize in that regard, are the ones that have the best chance of winning—winning that prize, which is the nomination. 

JANSING:  Let’s have a little honesty check.  Six months ago, would either of you have believed what’s going on, on the Democratic side here?

SKLAR:  You know, I—I have to say, I mean, certainly not.  You can’t predict this sort of thing.  But—but six months ago, Barack Obama still had the sort of—even though he was sort of not performing up to everybody’s expectations, there’s a rock star thing was still there.  There was still the colonel of it.

So I always personally felt that—that the Hillary Clinton inevitability meme was not helpful to her. 

WATKINS:  Well...

SKLAR:  You can only fall when you’re on top.  And it was early. 

WATKINS:  I just think that last summer, people were beginning to kind of second-guess Barack Obama.  They were saying, “Gee whiz, you know, he did really well early on in the campaign after his announcement, raised a lot of money.”  But suddenly, he seemed to be faltering.  He seemed to not really—didn’t have his stride. 

SKLAR:  Yes.

WATKINS:  And Hillary...

SKLAR:  And Hillary was smoking in the debates. 

WATKINS:  Absolutely.  She was going to be the easy winner.  And so I think in the fall, the prediction of most political pundits would be that Hillary Clinton was going to have a cake walk to the nomination. 

Barack Obama might be a little bit competitive, but he really wouldn’t be able to last, to stand with her.  And that has not been the case.  He’s been very competitive here. 

JANSING:  You’re both going to stay with us.  And one of the things I want to talk about is the whole John Edwards factor.  Will he endorse someone before the 4th?  Would it make a difference?  We have a lot more to talk about.  So we’ll have both of you back.

Joe, Rachael, thanks to both of you. 

SKLAR:  Thanks, Chris.

JANSING:  We’ve got some people doing double duty for us, because Carrie Dann, who is a NBC/”National Journal” reporter who’s been on the campaign trail has been driving all night.  She’s in Jackson, Tennessee, now.  She’s following those deadly storms for us now.  Twenty-six people confirmed dead. 

She came to Jackson from St. Louis, Missouri.

Carrie, tell us a little bit about what you saw on the way, where you are right now, and what you’re seeing there. 

CARRIE DANN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I’m in Jackson right now, Chris.  And the two things I noticed when I was coming into town. 

The first was tangles of electrical wires all over town.  There are a lot of electrical poles that have come down, wires that are very dangerous, broken glass all over the road.  And twisted into shapes that you would not believe. 

The other thing I noticed is there are police cars all over town. 

And that’s where you can spot the damage, is where the police cars and the authorities are. 

Now, there’s—at Union University here in town, there’s some severe damage to two dormitories.  There were students that were trapped.  All of those students are all right. 

Authorities have just let the media into that area to view those sights.  One of the most remarkable things I saw, a Walgreens.  The front of that Walgreens here in—here in town was almost completely ripped off.  The sprinklers all going off.  And—and you could see right inside all the products in the Walgreens, strewn throughout the floor.

There was an employee’s car that was parked outside that looked like a generator from the top of that Walgreens had been heaved off of the ceiling and thrown into the side of that car.  And it was at a very precarious angle, and the car—the owner was going to have a hard time looking at that car in the morning. 

JANSING:  Wow.  Have you ever seen anything like this?  Have you ever been through tornado areas before, Carrie?  Anything to compare it to?

DANN:  Well, it was—it just looks like a war zone in a lot of places.  What’s really remarkable is this damage.  There are areas where everything looks completely normal. 

You’re driving through a shopping center.  And everything looks completely like it would be on a normal evening.  And then on one corner, there will be complete, severe damage, and authorities working around the clock to try to fix things up and at least get power back. 

The entire town is dark.  There’s a lot of areas where the power is out.  And right now, the press is just starting to arrive and trying to walk—navigate this very difficult town in a bad situation. 

JANSING:  Carrie, thanks so much.  I know you must be exhausted. 

But we appreciate your reporting tonight.  Thanks so much. 

DANN:  Thanks a lot. 

JANSING:  And we’re going to continue to update you on what’s going on in terms of the storm damage, especially as daylight comes to those states.

But of course, the other huge story, Super Tuesday and a tight race on the Democratic side.  Over on the GOP side, John McCain says he’s going to have to get used to a particular title. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And although I’ve never minded the role of the underdog and have relished, as much as anyone, come-from-behind wins, tonight I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination of president of the United States. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You know, Ann came to me and she said, you know, “The one thing that’s clear tonight is that nothing is clear.”  But—but I think she’s wrong.  One thing that’s clear is this campaign is going on!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING:  Well, that at least is the statement from Mitt Romney as of last night.  He did post some wins in western states but failed to win major states, which were pretty much swept by John McCain.  And so Mitt Romney is going to be having a meeting with his advisors later today. 

And surprising wins for Mike Huckabee across the South.  Let’s just take a little sampling for you of the results in some states as we look at this Republican contest. 

The win in California for John McCain, where Mitt Romney had certainly hoped to do better.  And he did not.  A disappointing night for Mitt Romney.  But 67 of the votes counted there on the Republican side. 

Again, a win for John McCain in another big state of New York. 

Also on the GOP primary side, in Georgia, Mike Huckabee, one of those states he basically swept in the area where he was once governor. 

Of course, he was governor of Arkansas.

John McCain the winner in Illinois. 

Taking a look at Arizona, which of course, is the John McCain home state.  Not a decisive win there.  He did not get 50 percent of the vote, but he won.  And remember, these are mostly winner-take-all states in terms of the delegate count.  So that’s why it was critical for John McCain.

Another win for Huckabee there in Missouri, John McCain winning with 35 percent of the vote there. 

So we’ll look at the big picture.  You can take a look at who won what.  There are the states and the guys who won them.  Let’s bring in Steve Kornacki, a columnist with the “New York Observer.”

We heard from Mike Huckabee tonight, and it was interesting, because he said yes, this is a two-man race.  But he’s making the argument that the real two-man race here is between him and John McCain.  Where does the race stand right now?

STEVE KORNACKI, COLUMNIST, “NEW YORK OBSERVER”:  Well, it’s a very difficult spot for Mike Huckabee, because he had a better night than Mitt Romney had, obviously. 

But Mike Huckabee’s support, we’ve learned throughout the course of this campaign, is limited to two very specific places.  One is the South, and two is, you know, states where evangelical Christians can hold sway.  A caucus state, states where you can organize evangelical Christians.  A place like Iowa, for instance. 

There aren’t too many of those states left at this point.  You know, he got the big boost out of Iowa.  He could do nothing in New Hampshire.  He could do nothing in Michigan, nothing in Florida.  And that leaves them with states like Alabama and Georgia, where he could do very well tonight. 

So the contest is going to shift on.  And Mike Huckabee is going to get a lot of good publicity out of this.  But can he really parlay it into anything?  It seems like very clearly there’s a ceiling there for him that he hasn’t been able to break through.  No real reason to think he’s going to start breaking through.

But again, he represents part of a coalition that Mitt Romney has needed throughout this entire campaign to run against John McCain from the right.  You know, Mitt Romney wants to go after McCain as the, quote unquote, “true conservative candidate.”  Well, if you’re going to do that, you need Christian conservatives. 

And as long as Mike Huckabee is in the race, and he’s proved tonight, if nothing else, how loyal that core Christian following is for him, you know, he’s denying that core Christian following to Mitt Romney.  So really, Huckabee stays in the race.  He can’t grow, but he checks Romney. 

And that leaves McCain to get some conservative votes, to clean up among independents, where they’re allowed to vote, and to clean up among moderates and makes McCain, basically, the winner. 

JANSING:  Yes.  And Mike Huckabee has never been shy about talking about his roots as a minister, talking about the Bible, invoking the name of God and Jesus.  In fact, he talked about Christianity tonight in his little speech.  Let’s listen to a bit of what Mike Huckabee had to say. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Tonight, we are making sure America understands that sometimes one small, smooth stone is even more effective than a whole lot of armor. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING:  Well, that wasn’t exactly the bite I was expecting.  But in any case, let’s talk a little bit about this alliance that was sort of a loose alliance. 

Back when nobody was really giving McCain a shot anymore, because he was out of money.  He was firing people, letting people go.  He couldn’t pay his staffers.  Mike Huckabee, who was running this campaign basically, as you pointed out, based on grassroots evangelical Christians.  And they sort of formed this alliance.

Where do you see it going from here?  Do you imagine any kind of conversations going on between the McCain and Huckabee camp?

KORNACKI:  Yes, well, I mean, obviously, the logical conclusion from all this is that John McCain is in the stronger position in the primaries, is probably going to be the nominee.  And so Mike Huckabee is interested in being the vice presidential candidate. 

And you would look at that as, you know, obviously, your political future, if you can become the vice president, that’s great.  But you know, the prospects for the Republican ticket may not be as strong in

2008 as they had been in other years.  So if you’re the vice presidential candidate in 2008 and your party loses, you probably become the presidential frontrunner 2012.

So it’s a very valuable slot this year, I think, in particular for the party.

The problem with Mike Huckabee, Mike Huckabee is sort of a double-edged sword for John McCain, if he picks him as a running mate. 

On the one hand, he gets, potentially, a lot of these evangelical Christian voters.  You know, the Christian conservative grassroots. 

They’ve never felt very strongly about John McCain, but they feel very passionately about Mike Huckabee.  So McCain could pick them up.

But the problem is sort of the conservative establishment, because of economic issues, does not like Mike Huckabee at all.  You know, they see him as a guy who raised taxes.  They see him as a guy who cares a little too much about social justice.  Fred Thompson called him a pro-life liberal in the primaries, and that resonated with a lot of the conservative establishment.

So, you know, McCain, who really badly needs these people, he’s public enemy No. 1 to them.  The problem is, Mike Huckabee is public enemy No. 2 to the conservative establishment.  So if you pick him, if you’re John McCain, you risk sort of offending the people you really need to be making peace with.

JANSING:  And I don’t want to leave out the Democrats, because that’s where we really have the horserace going on here, between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  Basically, a split tonight.  She won the big states.  He won more states. 

We still have a few things that are outstanding.  We don’t know exactly what the delegate count is going to be.  But we can pretty much predict that, going into March 4, big Texas and Ohio primaries, we’re going to see a split very close to what we’re seeing now.  These two candidates very close.How decisive is March 4th likely to be, in your eyes?

KORNACKI:  Well, I think the X factor in all this is what happens between now and March 4th, because my count you have seven—I think there may be a few more—but there’s at least seven contests between now and March 4th where I think Barack Obama, on paper, is the favorite.

They’ll start this weekend with Louisiana, Washington state and Nebraska.  I think on paper he should—he’s the favorite in those stats.  Hillary Clinton could make a stand there, but two of them are caucuses, and Barack Obama has done a lot better in caucuses than Hillary Clinton.

Then you go to next Tuesday.  You’ve got the District of Columbia. 

You’ve got Virginia, and you’ve got Maryland.  Almost assuredly, Obama’s going to win the District of Columbia.  Maryland’s is the largest black population of any state outside the South.  He could do very well there.  He could do very well in Virginia. 

You know, Bill Clinton got in trouble for saying this, you know, down in South Carolina, but it is worth noting Jesse Jackson, when he ran for president in 1988, carried Virginia.  Barack Obama’s coalition is a lot broader than Jesse Jackson’s was in 1988.  If Jackson was able to carry it then, that bodes well for Obama’s chances this week.

So Obama has an opportunity to build some momentum heading into March 4th, whereas right now we say this is a dead-even race tonight and it will be a dead-even race on March 4th.  If Obama can demonstrate that he’s taken, you know, the credibility that he got from the tie tonight and parlayed it into some wins between now and March 4th, he could be in a position where he could move, if not decisively ahead of her, considerably ahead of her on March 4th.

JANSING:  All right, Steven.  It’s good to see you.

KORNACKI:  Sure. 

JANSING:  Thanks so much for sticking with us through the night.

Now coming up on almost half past the hour, 4:29 here on the East Coast. 

Some of the contests were really disrupted by severe weather. 

Twenty-six people killed in a swath of tornadoes that cut across the South.  We’ll be talking to an official from the emergency—emergency management office in Kentucky to get the latest on what’s going on in that state.

You are watching MSNBC, covering two big stories for you throughout the night and into the morning.  Keep it right here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: And, of course, it’s also the morning after Super Tuesday—a night Mike Huckabee will remember. We’ve got more on that coming up here on the place for politics, MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Over the past few days, a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two man race.

Well, you know what?

It is—and we’re in it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: For Democrats, Colorado was one of those tossup states that we saw. Look at the numbers here. Mitt Romney with 59 percent on the Republican side. But on the Democratic side, Obama ended up winning, grabbing two-thirds of the vote in a state with 55 delegates at stake.

Let’s bring in Kevin Dale, who is a reporter with the “Denver Post” who has been following the results in Colorado.

And, in fact, the turnout there was an extraordinary story.

Tell us a little bit about what the headline is going to be in the “Denver Post,,” Kevin.

KEVIN DALE, “DENVER POST”: Well, I think on the Democratic side, certainly Obama’s resounding victory. I mean we—we sort of felt that he had the momentum going in, but we didn’t think it would be anywhere close to that big and spread across the state. You know, in Denver, Denver County, which is obviously the largest urban area, he was strong.

But even in some outlying rural counties, he had even three to one victories there. Clinton won a couple of counties with some high Hispanic concentration, but it was really—really a staggering result here.

JANSING: And the turnout numbers are extraordinary. Fifteen thousand Democrats turned out in 2004. Fifteen thousand. A hundred eighteen thousand is the number I’m seeing of Democratic voters in Colorado.

What is going on there?

DALE: Well, that’s, you know, that—we looked at the same thing.

Caucus sites were overrun in virtually every county. And I think it just tapped into this idea that people are engaged. They see candidates with a different message and they’re coming out to—to express their preference for those candidates.

JANSING: And more than 56,000 Republicans participating, as well, on the GOP side.

So are you seeing something different than you’ve ever seen in a presidential election before, in terms of sort of the energy, the enthusiasm for this campaign?

DALE: Oh, no doubt. And it goes across both parties here. Everywhere you go, that’s what people are talking about. You know, Obama came town last week, drew 18,000, you know, when they expected about 9,000. So, yes, it’s all over the place. The pictures coming out of some of the caucus sites were just ridiculous, with people basically stuffing themselves into a building to try to register their votes.

JANSING: Yes, it’s amazing. You know, most—I mean everywhere we looked, we knew that people were coming out in record numbers. We’ve seen it in state after state after state.

But you literally couldn’t fit people into the building?

I mean that’s how unexpected these numbers were?

DALE: Yes, absolutely. They had some lines that went for about three blocks to get into a caucus site in Boulder. One place up here—I live in a town called Evergreen, just outside of Denver. They usually get about 15 people. They said they had almost a hundred there. Some places that they were sort of expecting a hundred, they got 1,500. So, you know, they tried to gear up for more people, but they were overwhelmed even with that preparation.

JANSING: Real quickly here, Kevin.

Do we know what issues are motivating people in Colorado?

DALE: Well, you know, the Democrats are slightly more interested in the war than they are in the economy. The economy is, by far, number one among Republicans. And, you know, the economy overall ranks the highest.

But it was a little bit surprising to us when we polled people’s interests. For Democrats, the war was slightly ahead of the economy.

JANSING: How big is the military in Colorado?

DALE: Well, pretty good sized. I mean we’ve got large bases in Colorado Springs and in Denver. And, you know, like just virtually every state, our National Guard is—has a high presence in the Gulf. So that plays a role in it, definitely.

JANSING: All right.

It’s great talking to you, Kevin.

Thanks so much for being up so late and sharing your expertise with us on Colorado.

We appreciate it.

DALE: Sure. No problem.

JANSING: You know, six months ago, we thought Iraq would be the factor to watch in this presidential race. Of course, that was six months ago.

Let’s turn to MSNBC military analyst, retired U.S. Army Colonel Jack Jacobs.

That’s interesting, though, what Kevin just told us. I mean, you know, we’ve talked so much about the economy. It’s gotten a lot of headlines and James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

But we should not rule out Iraq here and there’s going to be a lot going on in the next couple of months that put it centrally back in the headlines—Jack.

COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yes. And I’m not a fan of single factor analysis, especially in a complicated world like—in which we live today. So it’s not going to be just about the economy and not about

just about the war or just about anybody’s personality. All these things are going to figure into it.

And Iraq dropped off the radar screen for a quite a while, at least partially because of the success that the military has had in places like Anbar Province and Baghdad. But, you know, that’s a festering problem and the new president is going to have to deal with it. There were inadequate numbers of troops in Iraq. If you want to prosecute the war to its conclusion and make sure that the place is secured so that the new Iraqi government can take control, if it has a chance to do so.

You’ve got a problem in Afghanistan. Relatively quiet now. There are some suicide bombings, but it’s the winter time. Another couple of months, the snows will melt. You’ll have a big offensive on both sides

both on the side of the Taliban and on the side of the allies.

And, at the end of the day, the United States of America is not going to be able to find adequate resources to fuel both conflicts and, at the same time, provide all the things that we need in order to secure the United States around the world. We’ve got lots of relationships and responsibilities elsewhere in the world and the military establishment is much too small to take care of it.

The secretary of defense, Gates, recently said that what he was going to try to do—because it was so tough on particularly the Army and the Marine Corps in Iraq—is to reduce the Army tours of duty from

15 months to 12 months. Well, you’re not going to be able to do that unless you reduce the American footprint in Iraq.

And so when John McCain says we need more troops to make sure that we win in Iraq, it’s going to be difficult for him to do that if you have the military establishment saying that they must reduce the time that soldiers serve in Iraq, even after we reduce the size of the mission there.

Lots of problems. And Iraq, I think, is going to bubble up to the top of the discussion pole when it comes time for the general election, after the—after the conventions.

JANSING: And even...

JACOBS: So it’s going to be...

JANSING: And even...

JACOBS: I think it’s going to go back to number one.

JANSING: ...today, we understand that Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is going to be giving this testimony where he’s going to say U.S. forces are significantly stressed by fighting in Iraq. And there’s different ways that the different parties can analyze this and what it means in terms of the war effort.

JACOBS: Well, the Republicans are going to say sure they’re stressed, we don’t have a big enough military, so we need to get our shoulder behind these troops who are protecting us. At the end of the day, the bad guys are coming after us.

The Democrats are going to say that the Republicans mismanaged the war from the beginning, that Iraq really is a side show to the—to where the real fight is, against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and that’s where we should have been spending our time in the last five years, not wasting time in Iraq.

At the end of the day, I believe that the fight in Southwest Asia is going to bubble up to the fore again. And don’t forget, we’ve got other problems in other places, as well. We were happy when the Wall came down in—well, between East and West. And we thought that Russia was no problem anymore. Well, it is, ladies and gentlemen. And China’s military establishment is now twice as big as it was a decade ago and it is growing.

And we have other problems, as well, in which the military establishment and defense is inextricably intertwined with the economy.

Oil at $100 a barrel. I know it’s backed off. It’s now down to $88, because the economy of the United States is getting a little bit soft so the demand for fossil fuels may go down. But there are other countries who are going after fossil fuels.

Do not make the mistake—no candidate should make the mistake of separating our national security concerns, on the one hand, with the economy on the other. They are very closely related.

JANSING: All right.

It’s always good to see you, Colonel.

JACOBS: Good to be here.

JANSING: Thanks so much.

So issues obviously one key thing we’re learning about from the exit polls. Demographics—we’re looking at where the strengths are in the various candidates. We’re going to look at those exit polls when we come back, in particular the significance this year of the youth vote.

Keep it right here on MSNBC—the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: We’ve got some fascinating numbers behind the numbers from the exit polls. This could actually be the year that young people really do rock the vote. When you compare some of the states today to the Democratic primaries they had four years ago, in most we see substantial increases in the numbers of young voters.

Alex Witt has been poring over the numbers, taking a closer look at these exit polls. And it really is fascinating because every year big resources go into the youth vote. It has not paid off in the past, but, boy, this year could be different

ALEX WITT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It’s as if there’s this clamor across the country—a chorus of people singing rock the vote.

It is generally younger people, as you’re mentioning, Chris.

In fact, I wanted to take some specifics for you. Let’s check out Georgia tonight. They are 17 percent of the Democratic electorate—that is up about 11 percent from four years ago.

In New York, young people are 15 percent of the Democratic voters.

That is nearly double the number of 2004. That’s up from 9 to 14 percent in the State of Missouri, as well. It’s up from 7 to 13 percent in the State of Tennessee.

So from these figures that we’re seeing, we are finding that young voters are more likely to be black and Hispanic. They’re more likely to want a candidate who will bring about some change and they’re more likely to describe themselves as liberal.

And, as we have seen before, they are more likely to go for Barack Obama. Obama is getting 58 percent of the vote among those who are younger than 30 years of age. Senator Clinton is getting 40 percent. And then among those 30 and older, Clinton leads—not by much, but the margin there of 4 percentage points differentiating the two, 56 percent to 40 percent.

So then where is the fault line, if you will, in age?  It actually appears to be fairly far up the line, in fact. In the figures for Obama, he’s getting the majority of the Democratic vote not only from those under 30, but also those in Gen X—the 30 to 44-year-old segment of the country. He has 55 percent among that group. He is nearly breaking even among the voters 45-59. Now, the only age group in which he is losing is the 60 plus demographic. He’s getting just 38 percent of the vote there.

So, overall, Chris, when you look at the vote tonight and the heavy turnout in so many states and (INAUDIBLE), you know, it tells you, there are going to be a lot of young voters out there.

JANSING: And that’s critical...

WITT: Young people are getting energized.

JANSING: ...for Barack Obama, because when you look at those older voters, those are the ones who traditionally have voted in much higher percentages and so that bodes well for Hillary Clinton. If he can motivate more young voters, that could be what keeps him going in this race.

WITT: Do you think that’s why we’re seeing things so neck-and-neck, perhaps?  I think that really can...

JANSING: Well, that’s absolutely...

WITT: ...make up what (INAUDIBLE)...

JANSING: That absolutely is why it is. And I can tell you, just anecdotally, on the streets of New York, I saw some Hillary Clinton supporters handing out little brochures. And I saw the older people looking at them and some of the younger people just throwing them aside on the subway. So that may just be sort of a little telling of what’s going on there.  Interesting stuff.  I know you’re going to continue to look at the exit polls.

WITT: I will.

JANSING: Alex, thank you so much.

WITT: You’re welcome, Chris.

JANSING: And we also are covering that other big story, and that, of course, is about the tornado.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MIKE BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Welcome back to MSNBC, the place for politics, the morning after an historic Super Tuesday. 

I’m Mika Brzezinski. 

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good morning.  I am Chris Jansing.

So many stories about this race on the Democratic side for delegates, a clear front-runner on the Republican side now.  And some surprising wins, actually, by Mike Huckabee. So, interesting stuff going on into Wednesday. 

BRZEZINSKI:  But also some close calls, too. 

JANSING:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  So, yes, it’s been an incredible night. 

JANSING:  And Chuck Todd saying maybe there will be a call for a recount in Missouri.

BRZEZINSKI:  Oh, gosh.

JANSING:  That’s how close it is there.  It could come down to a single delegate.  So...

BRZEZINSKI:  Oh.

JANSING:  ... we’re looking at that race very closely as well.

And look at the headlines in some of these papers, because...

BRZEZINSKI:  Got to love it.  OK.  This is “The Washington Post.”

JANSING:  Yes. 

BRZEZINSKI:  And “Clinton and Obama Trade Victory; McCain Gains Edge in Early States.”  And there’s a whole Super Tuesday—let me put this down and bring it up—Super Tuesday in “The Washington Post” with some amazing pictures.

I hope I have it out.

Oh, there’s all the delegates and the different state breakdowns.  I turn the page for you, great pictures,

JANSING:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  “McCain Victory.”  And that’s the one clear thing that sort of has come out of Super Tuesday, is John McCain definitely holding on. 

But there’s sub-stories as well, in terms of Mike Huckabee.

JANSING:  Yes. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Hello?  Good morning.

JANSING:  All of a sudden—you know, he’s from Arkansas, obviously, where he wins.  But then he wins a bunch of southern states, and he says, yes, this is a two-person race and I’m in it. 

So obviously we have a lot of politics.  We’re going to talk about the tornadoes.  I would be remiss...

BRZEZINSKI:  Yes, you would.  Go ahead, Chris.

JANSING:  ... sitting here in New York City if I did not show the front pages. 

BRZEZINSKI:  All right.  Real quick.

JANSING:  And there are priorities in New York City here now, and it happens to be the parade for the Super Bowl champions.  So these may be the two papers in America that are not leading with the political headlines. 

Look at this on the back. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Fair enough.  Fair enough. 

JANSING:  That’s very cute.

We got—speaking of cute pictures...

BRZEZINSKI:  Yes, I know.

JANSING:  ... sometimes I’m really annoyed by that...

(CROSSTALK)

BRZEZINSKI:  I know you really want to show the picture of Eli Manning...

JANSING:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  But that’s OK.  Hey, I understand.

JANSING:  That’s all right.

BRZEZINSKI:  Put the cute baby up.

JANSING:   Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  That’s much more attractive.

JANSING:  All right.  So, that’s where we are right now.  We’ve got two big stories that we are covering for you. 

Before we begin, though, our Super Tuesday recap, we do want to bring you up to date on these deadly tornadoes that ripped through four southern states.

(TORNADO COVERAGE)

BRZEZINSKI:  And, of course, Super Tuesday the story of the night, and now the story of the morning as well.

JANSING:  Yes, it is, because we’re still getting in some of the final numbers.  We’re still looking at the delegate count. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Absolutely.

JANSING:  Let’s take a look at a few of the results, and let’s kick off now with California, which was hotly contested on both sides.  A win for Hillary Clinton, although Barack Obama did do some closing.  There was a point at which I think Hillary was up by 30 points in one poll several weeks ago. 

BRZEZINSKI:  This is Missouri. 

JANSING:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  Barack Obama took—this state was a big one that we were talking about. 

JANSING:  And this is where Chuck Todd is saying that...

BRZEZINSKI:  Right.

JANSING:  ... they may actually go in for a recount.  He wouldn’t be surprised if Hillary Clinton went in for a recount there. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Goodness gracious. Take a look at Connecticut.  Barack Obama, interesting.  That’s my former home state.  Barack Obama, 51 percent to 47 percent over Hillary Clinton. 

JANSING:  And New Jersey, another of those big states, big Eastern states that were kind to Hillary Clinton, where she wins with 54 percent of the vote. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Of course, it’s part of the tri-state area, as they call it.  Sort of not surprising given the fact that she’s the senator from New York. 

John McCain, on the Republican side, taking California. 

JANSING:  And this was important.  Part of Mitt Romney’s strategy...

BRZEZINSKI:  Sure was.

JANSING:  ... was go for California to show himself as a real challenger.  A disappointing night for him. 

BRZEZINSKI:  It was.  Remember he took that last-ditch trip yesterday.

JANSING:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  He flew right across the country, because—really realized how important California could be, and some polls were showing he might even have a chance there.  It turns out he did not. 

JANSING:  Yes.  And once again, John McCain in Missouri winning, but there is a state that was very split.  And remember, unlike the Democrats, where they’re splitting the delegates, most of these are winner take all.  So the winner does matter. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Yes.

And Alabama, Mike Huckabee.  This is one of several states that Mike Huckabee took.  And Mike Huckabee was gloating last night. 

JANSING:  Yes.  A surprisingly strong showing by him.  And he had—he had some room to brag. 

BRZEZINSKI:  He did. 

JANSING:  Mitt Romney still claiming that he is in this race.  He says he’s not getting out, although we do know from our correspondents who are on that campaign there’s going to be a big meeting today.  What does Mitt Romney do to go forward?  Chuck Todd’s analysis is, it’s hard to look at the numbers and see how Mitt Romney wins this nomination. 

BRZEZINSKI:  I mean, he can go forward in terms of being able to afford to.  But is it politically the right thing to do if you want another shot down the road?  That’s what he has to consider.

Look at these states too close to call, Chris. 

JANSING:  It’s New Mexico.  And we are looking at a very small difference here, 79 votes. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Ouch.

JANSING:  Eighty percent of the precincts reporting.  They had some problems there that are bringing in some of the results a little bit late.  So we’re going to keep our eye on New Mexico and see what happens there. 

But this is one of those states that was so hotly contested.  And it sort of is a microcosm of what happened for the night. 

Hillary Clinton winning in the big states.  So she can claim, I have won in the ones that count in November.  Barack Obama is going to say...

BRZEZINSKI:  I’m viable.

JANSING:  ... I won in more states, I’m viable.  I’m the one who is bringing in the youth vote, I’m the one who’s bringing up the excitement and the numbers.  We’re going to bring new people to the Democratic Party. 

So they both have talking points. 

BRZEZINSKI:  I mean, the story continues.  And what’s interesting is, as we covered this leading up to the results coming in last night, that appeared to be the story, that Barack Obama was gaining momentum, that people were—there was anecdotal evidence across the board of people switching at the last minute from Clinton to Obama.  It appears there was momentum, probably didn’t have the time to totally take down Super Tuesday, but a showing that he can certainly take into the future. 

This, as Chuck Todd always warned us, is not over. 

JANSING:  Yes. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Not even close.

JANSING:  And you obviously—you want the headlines.  But all of these, I’m looking at the major newspapers here...

BRZEZINSKI:  Sure.

JANSING:  ... “The Washington Post”—all three of them—“The Washington Post,” “Wall Street Journal,” “New York Times,” all say Clinton and Obama trade victories, Clinton and Obama in close fight, Clinton and Obama battle.  So neither of them got the clear headline there. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Right.  That’s what “USA Today” says—“Clinton-Obama Battle.”

JANSING:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  So, it has just begun.  And it’s fascinating.  It’s fascinating for many, many reasons. 

Why don’t we talk to the experts about exactly where this is going to go next? 

JANSING:  They’re fired up about this. 

BRZEZINSKI:  I can imagine.

Let’s bring in Republican strategist and MSNBC political analyst Joe Watkins, and Rachel Sklar, media editor with The Huffington Post.

Thanks to you both coming for coming in so early this morning. 

(CROSSTALK)

JANSING:  Let me ask you about those headlines, Rachel, because as a media analyst, does it matter to these two that neither of them got a clear headline? 

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Oh, of course.  I mean, both of them would have liked to have, you know, carried Super Tuesday.  Who wouldn’t? 

But conversely, I think, probably, and really more on the Clinton side, I guess, is it helps her more that the headline isn’t more “Obama’s Momentum Continues to Grow,” and no “Nation Votes for Hope.”

I mean, that says—there’s no question, this does put a stop in his momentum, and that’s what you needed to do. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Has this put a stop in Barack Obama’s momentum, Rachel? 

SKLAR:  Oh, sure.  Sure.  I mean, because everything felt—since South Carolina—and he won that primary by a huge margin—there was the Caroline Kennedy endorsement, followed by the Ted Kennedy endorsement. 

It just felt—it felt like dominoes falling.  Then, you know, you had the spiral video, the “Yes, we can” video that was getting thousands, if not, you know, getting into the millions of hits on YouTube and on the Internet, and lots of media pickup.

It just—it all felt like a swelling and moving in favor of Obama. 

And this said, well, you know, he definitely was making progress, there was no question about that, and he definitely cut into her lead.  But she’s still entrenched.  And that’s what this says.

BRZEZINSKI:  Yes.  But looking at the states that he won—and Joe, I’ll get to you in just a second—but it doesn’t seem like the campaign would see it that way. 

SKLAR:  Which campaign? 

BRZEZINSKI:  The Obama campaign.  I mean, in a sense, I think they would think that their momentum is there and fired up and ready to go. 

SKLAR:  Oh, sure.  It’s not that it’s not still there.  But they didn’t necessarily temper the expectations. 

And I don’t think—I mean, I think I remember reading something—or maybe, I’m—you know, it’s all blurring together, but definitely sort of the expectations that they would do better.  I think the campaign had expectations that they would do better.  They were fired up, and sometimes when you get fired up, you aren’t cautious about what might end up happening

JANSING:  Joe, let me ask you about the argument that Barack Obama was making tonight, and both of them obviously, in talking to their supporters, claiming some edge of victory.  But here’s what Barack Obama said.

He said, “Look, voters deserve a clear choice when it comes to November.”  And he says, “They have a choice between who has the most experience and who’s likely to change Washington.” He’s bringing in, he says, people from all backgrounds, all races, all religions, around a common purpose.  Does he make the right argument here? 

JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, clearly, he makes the right argument for his base right now, which are people who want change—young people, African-Americans, people who have never before been involved in the political process.  They like what Barack Obama is saying. They’re inspired by him.  And you can tell by the tenor of the crowds. 

I mean, Rachel made a great point.  If you watch television and you see the crowds that Barack Obama draws, it would look like he’s about to be corronated king. I mean, the crowds are enthusiastic and large. 

Apparently, there are people waiting outside to get in.  And they hang on every word that Barack Obama says.  So he’s saying the right thing. 

His message is clearly resonating with his base.  The question becomes is, does he have what it takes to really win the big states? 

I mean, he lost all the big states tonight, the key states.  We didn’t expect him to win New York, of course, because Hillary Clinton is the U.S. senator from that state.  But he didn’t win California. 

He won the southern states, where there are large percentages of African-American voters, but he failed to win any of the big ones, big important ones, like New Jersey.  He won Connecticut, but that was a close race.  He lost Massachusetts. 

SKLAR:  He took Missouri, but, you know, by a hair. 

WATKINS:  He took Missouri, but, again, you know, Missouri by a hair. 

So, Hillary Clinton gets a chance to say that, although Barack Obama did well, she did very, very well.  She won the big ones.  She won the big states that are going to be important to Democrats in the fall. 

JANSING:  Well, when you talk about big states, you also have that same scenario with John McCain.  He won those key big states, and yet Mike Huckabee is making the argument that this is a two-person race.  Mitt Romney, as we said, has the money to stay in this race if he wants to. 

So, Joe, does it become a place where they start to get accusations of being a spoiler here?  Are they supposed to stand aside and let John McCain have this nomination? 

WATKINS:  Chuck Todd makes a very, very good point, that you’ve got to look at the numbers here.  And at the end of the day, the decision to stay in the race really has to do with whether or not you have a chance to win.  You’ve got to look at the numbers and the delegate race. 

And Mitt Romney won a host of primaries tonight, as did Mike Huckabee, but the big ones, the ones that really mattered, went, of course, to John McCain.  And right now, John McCain has a commanding lead and has all the momentum.  He’s clearly the front-runner in this race, and it’s his battle to lose. 

With regards to Mitt Romney, he has the money to stay in the race.  And he can still perhaps rally around and be a force if he wants to stick around to the convention. 

Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, doesn’t have a lot of money, but he’s continuing to win, certainly in states where there are large numbers of evangelical voters and voters who like his socially conservative message.  But neither one of them right now, certainly not Huckabee—Huckabee, less so than Romney—is less threatening than Romney is. 

And Romney still is going to have to make a very, very difficult case that—in order to see how he wins this thing by staying in. 

BRZEZINSKI:  Well, Governor Huckabee runs a real scrappy campaign.  I don’t see him stepping out anytime soon.

JANSING:  No way.

BRZEZINSKI:  But, Joe, we’ll see. 

Joe and Rachel, you’re going to be with us throughout the hour. 

WATKINS:  Yes.

BRZEZINSKI:  So thanks for that, and we’ll be back with you in just a bit—Chris. 

JANSING:  Yes.

And we’ve also got that other big story that we’re following...

BRZEZINSKI:  Yes.

JANSING:  ... this morning, the string of devastating tornadoes that’s killed at least 26 people.  These storms are still out there as we head to Memphis, Tennessee. 

That’s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(TORNADO COVERAGE)

BRZEZINSKI:  We’re also going to have more of Super Tuesday coverage coming up.  We’ll look at the delegate count coming up and how it all breaks down, because, of course, as we predicted on the Democratic side, not that simple.

JANSING:  No.

BRZEZINSKI:  Not that simple at all, not over yet. 

On the Republican side, some surprises. 

JANSING:  Yes.  I’ve been stealing that line from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, “Oh, What a Night.”

BRZEZINSKI:  Oh, what a night it was.

JANSING:  We’ve got it all covered for you right here on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

JANSING: Welcome back to MSNBC, the place for politics.

Chris Jansing along with Mika Brzezinski.

There has never been a night in presidential election history like last night—never more states who were voting...

BRZEZINSKI: Yes.

JANSING: Never more states who were voting, never more delegates at stake. And here we go. We don’t have a decisive winner on either side.

BRZEZINSKI: No, we don’t. I also think never more excitement—especially among young people.

JANSING: Enthusiast (INAUDIBLE).

BRZEZINSKI: I have never seen people more technically—technologically engaged in the election and really caught up in what’s happening. People stop me on the street asking about it—young people engaged. You’ve got to love it.

JANSING: I talked to one of the reporters from the “Denver Post.”

They were so astonished by the turnout—a lot of it fueled by young people...

BRZEZINSKI: Yes.

JANSING: They literally were trying to cram people into these rooms...

BRZEZINSKI: Wow!

JANSING: On the Democratic side in 2004, 15,000 people voted—that’s all—in the entire state. 118,000 this year. We’re getting an idea of the kind of enthusiasm that is out there for this campaign.

BRZEZINSKI: And we were reporting yesterday, when the polls opened in some states, there were people standing in the rain standing lined around the corner waiting to vote.

JANSING: Yes. This is good stuff.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes. It is. And we actually—we should take a look at the Democratic numbers, because—oh, should we start with the Republican delegates?

JANSING: Well, that’s what they’re telling us in our ear.

BRZEZINSKI: They’re telling us in our ear. They’re so brilliant, the producers.

Delegate count, Republicans right now—McCain, 516 delegates.

That’s a pretty big win wouldn’t you say?

JANSING: Yes. More than Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee combined, although there is a story here for Mike Huckabee...

BRZEZINSKI: There sure is.

JANSING: He swept across the South—not just his home state of Arkansas, and was a pretty happy guy tonight, saying this is now two-man race, and I’m one of the two.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, you know, and actually we were talking—I interviewed him several times yesterday. And he was frustrated. He said don’t count me out, I’m in this race. We kept on asking him, because was there this narrative—this potential that he might be helping out John McCain by staying in the race and siphoning votes from Mitt Romney. And he absolutely flatly denied it and said he’s in this race to win.

He has had a scrappy campaign. He hasn’t had the money or the advertising of the other candidates. But my goodness, I mean, that is pretty impressive, how he did last night.

JANSING: Yes. And he has gotten that grassroots support from the Evangelical Christians, you know, sort of a tip of the hat, in a way, to Karl Rove, who organized many of the conservative Christians. They know how to get out there and get out the vote. And obviously, that’s—those were the states where he showed strength...

BRZEZINSKI: Yes.

JANSING: ...where there is a large Evangelical Christian population.

BRZEZINSKI: What can he do with that? I don’t know.

JANSING: Yes, that’s the problem. There just aren’t enough of them out there to win the Republican nomination.

BRZEZINSKI: (INAUDIBLE)...

JANSING: But he showed himself to be a player.

BRZEZINSKI: He’s played the Evangelical card, so to speak. I mean it’s what—it’s what he’s about. And the question is how now does he, at this late stage in the game, broaden out across the country to get enough support? I don’t see it, but, you know, I’m not going to count him out anymore.

JANSING: Yes.

BRZEZINSKI: I’m just not doing it. No one should.

JANSING: Let’s look at the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton leading here. But—and this is a big but—we’ve got, in three days, a number of caucuses and a primary, I think, coming up. And then, after that, you have a number of the D.C. area votes going on on Tuesday.

BRZEZINSKI: Right.

JANSING: And then, of course, moving into March. We have those what could be—if not decisive, they certainly will be critical states of Ohio and Texas. So this is—this is a day—a night, again, where we split. Barack Obama won more states, Hillary Clinton won the big states.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes. And in terms of—I mean there’s different ways of slicing this. And I think you’ll hear it from both campaigns, for sure, as they move into states down the road.

We want to bring in Republican strategist and MSNBC political analyst Joe Watkins, and Rachel Sklar, media editor with The Huffington Post.

And, Joe, I want to ask you about the Huckabee factor and the Republicans. There was all this argument over the past 24, 36 hours about which frontrunner—meaning Mitt Romney or John McCain—is more liberal, which one is the real conservative.

Do you think this battle over ideology played a role in any of the results here or matters?

WATKINS: Well, it clearly did and it does matter, certainly.

Obviously, one of the ways you win a primary is by segmenting your voters, appealing to the voters in a state by saying you’re from this plank of the party or from that plank of the party.

John McCain has done very, very well, especially in those primaries where Independents are allowed to vote, because he caters very, very—he does very, very well with Independent voters. There are Democrats that like him, as well as Republicans that like him.

And so in places like New Hampshire, of course, he has done extraordinarily well. In California, he did well, though, in a closed primary, with just Republicans voting. He did very, very well. He had a convincing win there.

Huckabee is pulling votes—although he’ll never admit it—away from Mitt Romney. And we saw tonight in West Virginia, where Huckabee eked out a win with the help of some of McCain’s people. And certainly in the South, where, obviously, Southern Evangelicals don’t yet trust Mitt Romney enough to give him their vote. They went with Mike Huckabee, even though they know that Mike Huckabee is not going to be the nominee of the Republican Party. So that’s quite a statement. And Huckabee certainly has a scrappy enough campaign to hang in there for a long time and to continue to amass delegates, although he won’t ever be able to amass enough delegates to really threaten John McCain.

JANSING: So if you have a situation where John McCain is the likely nominee—he basically said as much last night. The analysts are saying as much. A look at the numbers—you don’t see a situation where Mitt Romney comes out of this.

Then, Rachel, does it become worrisome for the Democrats how long theirs goes on, because then the Republicans have time to mend fences, to coalesce, to fundraise, while the Democrats continue their fight, potentially beyond these critical March 4th primaries?

SKLAR: Right. Exactly. You’ve hit it. If John McCain doesn’t have to worry about anything other than consolidating his support in the Republican Party and making sure that he’s got the groundswell of support, while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton keep chipping away at each other, trying to somehow eke out a win in this contest, they’re both, you know, blowing resources and goodwill on that and fracturing the party, while he’s retrenching and just sitting back and shoring up his strength. So that—that’s not a good scenario for the Democrats.

BRZEZINSKI: Speaking of sources, Rachel, and, Joe, chime in if you want, I mean where does this result on the Democratic side leave the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign, which have both been fairly effective in raising money? And on the Republican side, I would think that John McCain probably gets some momentum out of this.

SKLAR: Yes, well, John McCain, I think he has—he has a lot of funds poured in for him after New Hampshire. I can recall reading somewhere—I think it was on (INAUDIBLE) in “Time” magazine, about how he traded the bus for a plane. And I think that, you know, it will be interesting to see—Hillary already sent out at least one fundraising e-mail, I’m pretty sure, because I know I got one. And, you know, the Obama machine will probably move into high gear, as well.

WATKINS: I think Obama has kind of the advantage here, because remember, you know, a lot of Hillary’s people are tapped out. There’s a limit to what you can give as an individual donor to any presidential campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Right.

WATKINS: And in Barack Obama’s case, he’s getting a lot of money from new donors and small givers. So they have the capacity to come back again and again and again to give him $100, to give him $50, to give him $85. And just think, in the last month alone, he raised, I think, over $30 million.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That’s amazing.

WATKINS: That’s an amazing amount of money. With this kind of momentum, he’ll be able to do that again. He’s going to be very, very formidable as a candidate.

SKLAR: Well, Hillary (INAUDIBLE) could take a page out of the Huckabee handbook and just, you know, keep on going on every single talk show.

JANSING: So even if this isn’t a clear win in some very, very strong way for Barack Obama, you both think he’ll be able to raise money out of this? He’ll be able to spin this forward?

WATKINS: Clearly. Clearly.

SKLAR: I think so, yes.

WATKINS: He will be able to raise money, yes. You’ve got it.

JANSING: All right, well, we want you both to stand by.

But I want to bring in Chris Kofinis. He’s on the phone. You know his name as former communications director for the John Edwards campaign.

Chris, good to talk to you.  Thanks for joining us so early in the morning.

CHRIS KOFINIS, FORMER EDWARDS COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Oh, good morning.

JANSING: Well, what an interesting morning it is. And let me just go to the heart of the matter, because we know that there are a couple of huge states coming up—Ohio and Texas. They could be, if not definitive, make a big difference in who wins this nomination. Will your guy, John Edwards, do you think, come out before that and make an endorsement of one of these two candidates, who are both speaking about him as if he were the second coming?

(LAUGHTER)

KOFINIS: I’ll be honest with you, I mean I—you know, I don’t know. I mean I think the way he looks at both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, there are things he likes about them. I think with, you know, message-wise, there is clearly some strong similarities between Senator Edwards and the message he had during the campaign and Senator Obama.

But there’s also, I think, things he likes about Senator Clinton, in terms of her policy and her experience. I know he respects that. So, I mean, I’ll be honest with you, you know, I can’t speak for him now. But I think it could be a...

JANSING: No. But you know him and you know the way his mind works and he could be influential.

If he did, make an endorsement how influential do you think he could be and what do you think the chances are?  What does your gut tell you, Chris, about whether he’ll make an endorsement?

KOFINIS: My gut tells me he’s—there’s a pretty decent chance he’s going to make an endorsement. If he does, I think it will be—I mean I think it’s very coveted. I think it will definitely have an incredible impact on the race. I mean there’s only a few coveted endorsements left, I think, you know, Vice President Gore being one, I think, you know, John Edwards being another.

With a race that’s this close—and if you look at the results of last night, you basically had what was a stalemate. Everyone thought it was going to be a decisive day to decide that was going to decide who the nominee was on both sides. And what you saw on the Democratic side is a clear stalemate.

So anything, whether it’s endorsement by John Edwards or Vice President Gore or whatever it might be, anything like that can really just change the dynamics of this race in a fundamental way toward one candidate.So my guess is we’re going to be, you know, fighting and lobbying pretty hard to try to get those kind of advantages.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, Chris, hey, it’s Mika here. How are you?

KOFINIS: Hi, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: Hey. How are you doing?

KOFINIS: I’m good, thanks.

BRZEZINSKI: OK, here’s my question or my way of putting it. Is it fair to say that you expect he will make an endorsement and has there been any communication between John Edwards or the campaign or you and the Clinton and/or Obama campaign?

KOFINIS: I, you know, again, I mean think part of the problem is, you know, he’s going to, I think, make that decision. He’s going to talk to, I think, his family, his other close advisers and decide what they think is best for him. My guess is, there hasn’t—you know, as far as I know, there has been no, obviously, decision to endorse or not endorse or anything like that. I think, you know, that’s something that he’s going to definitely be getting a lot of questions now, especially in light of the results of last night.

And I think, again, I think the key thing to keep in mind is, you know, for both of these candidates, they come out of this with both advantages and disadvantages in a real interesting way. Obama’s got, I think, some momentum in terms of his grassroots support, the money—the fundraising. But Senator Clinton won, you know, a big state, in terms of California, and has incredible establishment report.

So an endorsement like John Edwards, I think, is going to be a really key thing to watch as we try to move forward—especially with the states that are left up to play.

JANSING: All right.  Well, will you let us know?

(CROSSTALK)

KOFINIS: Mika, you’ll be the first one that I—the first one I call.

BRZEZINSKI: You’d better be. I’d better be.  Hey, Chris, I’m watching you, OK?

KOFINIS: Great. Thank you.

BRZEZINSKI: You know. All right, thanks.

JANSING: Thanks, Chris Kofinis, the former communications director for the Edwards campaign.

I’m going to get in trouble for this. You’re going to get two lines each. Don’t give me more than 15 seconds.  Joe, Rachel...

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, go for it.

JANSING: I’ll start with you, Rachel. What difference would an Edwards; endorsement make in this campaign?

BRZEZINSKI: Yes.

SKLAR: Well, it really depends who he endorsed. I think if Edwards endorses Obama, it will really just play right into that momentum theme.

And if he endorses Clinton, it will, you know, play into her experience and suggest, I think, more suggest that they may have discussed it before. That’s what—that’s my take.

JANSING: Joe, does it move votes?

WATKINS: It can move votes. Certainly in the case of Edwards, he brings delegates to the table. So even more so than Gore or Kerry or Kennedy or any of these other people, John Edwards’ endorsement means, of course, delegates, in addition to some added momentum.

But, you know, endorsements are like—well, in politics and in comedy, one thing really matters and that’s timing. And if I was John Edwards, I would really—if I wanted to cut a deal...

BRZEZINSKI: Yes.

WATKINS: ...I would really be careful about the timing of my endorsement.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes.  And what kind of a deal would you cut? You never know, Chris. I mean somebody could choose him as running mate.

JANSING: Unlikely, I think.

BRZEZINSKI: Maybe. Maybe not.

JANSING: Unlikely, I think.

BRZEZINSKI: Probably.

JANSING: But there are places where he would probably be good to serve in an administration...

BRZEZINSKI: Useful.

JANSING: Yes. Where he could be considered.

BRZEZINSKI: We shall see. We’ll just wait for that endorsement.

JANSING: I love this back room stuff. Come on.

BRZEZINSKI: Chris is going to call me, so...

JANSING: You really want to be a fly on the wall.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes, you do.

JANSING: Chris Kofinis is going to give the very first word to me, because he’d better. I’m so watching him.

BRZEZINSKI: All right.

JANSING: So, listen, coming up, we’re going to be following, of course, all the coverage from Super Tuesday, the results that we still are trying to sort out here. But also these massive tornadoes that have ripped across four Southern states—Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. At least 27 dead so far. We’ll have the latest from a reporter on the ground coming up here.

You’re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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