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Super Tuesday Preview Coverage for Feb. 4

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  In just a few hours, millions of Americans begin casting their votes.  The largest voting day in the history of presidential nominations with 24 states counting votes, a truly Super Tuesday.  Tonight, we’re dissecting the very latest polls state by state.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We will make history tomorrow.  Thank you all, so much.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Together, we will change this country and we will change the world.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I can lead the nation and motivate all Americans to serve a cause grater than their self-interest.

MITT ROMNEY, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We take California and we take Georgia, we take states across the country and we get this nomination.


ABRAMS:  Who is surging, who might lock up the nomination by tomorrow? 

Who will win?

Hi, everyone.  For the next hour, we’re going to be going state by state looking at the latest polls, particularly focusing on the most important battleground states.  Let’s look at the big map.  Polling sites across the U.S.

will be open in less than about 12 hours.  On the Democratic side, 22 states from Massachusetts, to Georgia, California and Alaska, almost 1,700 delegates at stake.  The Republicans, 21 states voting, over 900 delegates up for grabs. 

And with nine states’ delegates winner take all, we could see a clear front- runner emerge on Wednesday morning in the Republican race.

Here to break down all the latest polls state by state and find out who’s got the momentum, where and why, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan,’s Joan Walsh.  Political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell and Republican strategist Karen Hanretty.

All right.  Our first stop is in Massachusetts where John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have all been getting in some last minute campaigning today.  Obama with the backing of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Senators Kerry and Kennedy has come from behind to actually overtake Clinton in a brand new poll.  Now 46 to 44 percent according to this Suffolk University poll.

So as a result, we are calling this one a toss up right now.  In Massachusetts, based on the polls.  On the Republican side, Romney, the former Massachusetts governor trying to hold off a rush by McCain.  It’s Romney’s home state.  He’s still ahead by 13 points in the latest poll but with the state’s

42 delegates doled out proportionally, Romney can’t let the final vote tally get too close.  So Massachusetts leans Romney still tonight.

Before we go to our panel, let’s go to MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle who in Boston, Mike, first of all, do you believe this poll that Obama is actually now leading in Massachusetts?  All right.  I don’t think we have Mike Barnicle. 

Pat Buchanan, do you believe it?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yeah, he is leading, I think. 

He has moved ahead in the numbers slightly.  I don’t think that means as much. 

I think the key question, the mayor of Boston, Menino, has a great organization up there and I understand he’s putting everything on the line and going all out for Hillary Rodham Clinton.  So I think calling it a toss up even though Obama is two points ahead is a fair call.

ABRAMS:  Lawrence O’Donnell.  It’s kind of startling, is it not, that we’re talking about Massachusetts and the fact that Obama is now actually ahead in the latest poll.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, you’re seeing the effect of the Kennedy endorsements in that poll for sure.  Listen, Dan, I’m from Boston and I can tell you tomorrow’s election will have nothing to do with organization.  This is a very strongly activated electorate.  No one has to tell them to get out to vote.  They are going to get out to vote.  It is going to be a huge turnout there.  And we will be watching that very closely in terms of what the Kennedy endorsement means.  Because these were not Barack Obama’s poll numbers in Massachusetts even a week ago.

However, it feels a lot like New Hampshire to me, Dan.  These Obama surge polls, especially, Suffolk University was one of the polls that was run in New Hampshire showing Obama ahead.  These polls, I have a great deal of trouble leaning on them strongly tonight.

ABRAMS:  I’m going to point out this is well within the margin of error.  Again, I’m not saying we’re going to live and die by the polls.  What I am saying is this is what we’ve got, tonight, the day before.

Mike Barnicle is with us.  What do you make of this poll that suggests that Obama is now leading by two percent in Massachusetts?

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think that poll is pretty accurate.  He’s been coming on like wild fire here for the past week or so. 

He’s coming on like wild fire here for the past week or so.  He is in town tonight, he’s been drawing, as you know, huge and electric crowds all across the country.  This is a region and a state filled with college people, young people.  And it is going to be interesting to see if the attendance at his rallies translates into votes tomorrow.  But the feeling is he is at least a couple of points ahead, come from way behind.

ABRAMS:  That’s why this is so startling if this holds up.  Karen real quick let’s talk about the Republicans.  Romney ahead by 13 points.  But boy, he has really got to blow it away in Massachusetts as the former governor of the state.  I mean, how many does he have to win by to retain his credibility?

KAREN HANRETTY, GOP STRATEGIST:  Well, look, he has to hit the 50 percent mark in his home town, his home state.  John McCain in Arizona, he’s not even polling 50 percent in his home state right now.  So I think that’s an important benchmark for Mitt Romney, at least in Massachusetts.  It’s probably the only state he’s going to win by 50 percent.  And actually it may be the only state any of the Republican candidates win by 50 percent.

ABRAMS:  Heading down I-95, we continue with our state to state preview.  Look at the polls.  Connecticut.  Next door to Clinton’s New York. 

But Hillary Clinton and Obama there today.  No recent polls.  So we’re going to call this one a tossup right now on the Democratic side.

As for Republicans, Connecticut’s proximity to Massachusetts does not look like it’s helping Romney yet.  McCain is leading by just about every count there so it is now expected that again, if the polls are accurate, that McCain will win that state.

Moving on, Hillary Clinton, comfortable lead in her home state of New York.  The second biggest delegate prize of the day, leading there by 14 points according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.  But the margin has been shrinking. 

In fact, Obama has cut it in half in the last two weeks.  We’re still putting it in the leans Clinton column.

On the GOP side John McCain looks like he will win New York big.  Now up over 30 points in one poll.  The endorsement by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani perhaps looming big here.  We’re expecting, again, if the polls are accurate, big ifs, that this one would go to McCain.  But Joan, let’s talk about the Democrats here.  What will it look like if Obama makes it a close race rather than a route, that’s a big victory for Obama in New York.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM:  I think it’s a reasonable victory for Obama.  You’re right, Dan.  I think she needs to win big.  She’s having to spend money she probably didn’t want to spend.  To keep up she’s got to stay well over 50 percent to really keep up a sense of momentum.  It would be devastating for him to come within a few points.  And she knows that so you see more time and energy being spent there than anybody counted on three or four weeks ago.

ABRAMS:  Reading a couple of polls here, WNBC Marist Poll has Clinton at 54, Obama at 38.  A fairly significant percentage.  Pat, we have got to keep reminding people it’s not winner take all when it comes to the Democrats.  So when you say that you’re going there to fight and Obama is going to go, he’s going to keep campaigning, keep working in New York to the last minute, that doesn’t mean he’s thinking he may with the state.

BUCHANAN:  Listen, he’s going to get delegates out of their.  They’ve got their strange proportional thing.  He’s going to get delegates out of the state and you keep campaigning here.  I tell you this, if he comes very close to Hillary Clinton, it’s probably going to be a huge night for Barack Obama.

On the Republican side the key to Connecticut and New York is they are winner take all.  And John McCain is going to get every delegate out of both states.  We heard in Massachusetts he’s going to split them.  Arizona is winner take all.  So even if McCain doesn’t get 50 percent, he going to get all the delegates.

ABRAMS:  Lawrence, you and I were talking earlier about media coverage.  The pundits, the analysts, the media, they love to talk about home states.  They love to talk about, as we were talking about before, about Romney in Massachusetts, or Hillary Clinton in New York.  It’s almost like this sense that your family is judging you.

O’DONNELL:  That’s right.  On New York, if Obama gets over 40, that’s going to be declared as a moral victory in New York.  And arguably it would be.  That was not something anyone thought possible a short time ago.  But most importantly, Dan, it could be indicative of Obama’s strength as the voting moves westward over the night.

ABRAMS:  Yeah.  Karen, let me asking you again, just to focus, though, on the Democrats for a minute.  This has got to be something that’s making the Clinton camp very uncomfortable.

We’re going to talk about Illinois later.  You’ve got Obama way up in Illinois and Clinton battling it out to some degree, she’s still up by, according to the two polls, between 14 percent and something like 18 percent,

16 percent, so it’s not that close.  But a New York battle is not a battle she wanted to have.

HANRETTY:  No, it’s not.  For the presumptive front-runner, she needs to do better than 50 percent in the State of New York.  Otherwise I think the headline—The more Barack Obama can just muddy up the waters tomorrow, he doesn’t have to get the most number of delegates to be the victor, he just has to muddy up those waters.  Because the elections coming in the next week, two weeks, three weeks I think are really going to favor him.  He’ll get a lot of momentum.  It’ll be like Nevada, she got the popular vote but not necessarily the delegates.

ABRAMS:  The media is going to love the Barack Obama story.  The media loves the Barack Obama.  I think this is going to be the tale we’re going to hear.  If Clinton wins by a little bit, throughout the country, we’re still going to hear about the Barack Obama comeback.

Panel ….

O’DONNELL:  Just by comparison …

ABRAMS:  Real quick.

O’DONNELL:  If Barack Obama was a state legislator who was challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for Senate, he would not get 15 percent of the vote.  Hillary, just so people have a perspective on this.  She would get at least 85 percent of the vote in any primary challenge.  As a senator.  You can look at this as a similar frame.  It’s only Democrats and independents voting in New York.

ABRAMS:  Fair enough.

O’DONNEL:  And if she doesn’t score big it’s a problem.

ABRAMS:  Panel sticking around.  We’re just getting started.  Heading across the country on the even of Super Tuesday.  We’re breaking down the very latest polls to try and assess exactly what could, what might happen tomorrow.

Coming up next, we’ve got the new polls from Clinton’s neighboring state of New Jersey.  This one should be close, but Obama now again thinking that he’s got a chance there.  He was there today.  Backed by Robert Deniro and Ted Kennedy.  We’ll tell you what the latest polls show in the State of New Jersey as we continue going state to state across the country.


OBAMA:  I have said repeatedly that this campaign is about bringing people together.  And for me to be able to bring a Patriot’s fan to the Meadowlands the day after the Super Bowl.  Is like bringing the lion and the lamb together.


ABRAMS:  We are back, we’re going across the country focusing on all the latest polls tonight as we prepare for Super Tuesday.  We have been going all the way from New York and Massachusetts, all the way, we’re going to be going south into California.

Just to recap as to where we are so far, we’ve gone through Massachusetts, on the Democratic map, we’re calling it a tossup still in Massachusetts based on the polls.  Polls only.  Connecticut, Democratic toss up because there have been to good polls.  And in New York still leaning toward Hillary Clinton.  Who knows based on polls.  We’re saying it’s leaning Romney in Massachusetts, leaning McCain in Connecticut and leaning McCain in New York.

Across the Hudson from Hillary Clinton’s New York, could be a different story.  The latest poll shows Clinton up seven points over Obama.  But other polls show an even tighter race.  It looks like it may be too late for Obama to make up enough ground for an outright win.  So right now again based on polls it looks like New Jersey is leaning towards Clinton.  John McCain is looking for a tri-state sweep in the New York metro area.  He is up big in New Jersey, leading Mitt Romney by 15 points where the winner will take all 52 delegates.

So we are calling this one again, based on the polls tonight as leaning towards McCain.  All right, so Joan, let’s talk about Hillary Clinton.  We’ve got these different polls showing us different numbers in the State of New Jersey.  But again, the consistent theme is closer than it had been.  We’ve got one poll with Clinton, 46 to 39.  Another poll from Reuters/CSPAN/Zogby, Clinton, 43 to 42.  Really tight.  Quinnipiac has Clinton at 48 to Obama’s 42. 

What do you think explains the closeness of the race in New Jersey?

WALSH:  Oh, I think Obama is just surging nationally, Dan.  And there is a strong, motivated, mobilized African American community in lots of the cities and so she does have the political establishment, she does have the fact that it is her neighboring state.  There is New York media emanates into New Jersey.  Again, she should be doing better than she is.  But chances are she’ll squeak it out.  I think an interesting thing, was on a conference call with the Clinton people today, and they’re really setting low expectations, so are the Obama people.  They’re both trying to set the lowest possible expectations so they surprise us and come out ahead tomorrow.

But the Clinton people are saying that’s going to go on way past February 5, certainly, March 4th.  Howard Wolfson even suggested a brokered convention this year.

ABRAMS:  The only reason I interrupt you is they’re trying to set our expectations really low, so we’ll declare them the winner at the end.  OK. 

Fair enough.

WALSH:  We won’t.

ABRAMS:  All right.  They both want to tell us they’re going to lose, they’re going to lose, so tomorrow when they do better, they’ll be fine.  Let’s talk specifics, though.  Karen, the question about Romney running behind in these Northeastern states, he’s from Massachusetts, you’d expect if he’s going to have any sort of stronghold, it would be in the New Yorks and New Jerseys of the world.  It doesn’t seem to be happening.

HANRETTY:  No, and it’s really symptomatic of a campaign I think that is probably going to come to its final hours tomorrow.  The fact that he can’t do well in the Northeast.  John McCain, I think the Lieberman endorsement, while it might not impress conservative Republicans in other parts of the country, I do think that’s probably helped him in the Northeast where you’ve got more moderate, I’d call them independent Republicans who really identify with John McCain in the Northeast.  I think that really has helped him.

ABRAMS:  Pat, I’ve got to move on, but very quickly.  How much do these endorsements matter?

BUCHANAN:  I think they do somewhat here in this part.  This is set up by Rudy Giuliani, these three states for him.  What’s happened is Romney is a Massachusetts basically Republican but he’s running now as a national conservative.  That’s not the way to win New York State.

ABRAMS:  We’re going to keep moving on.  We go to Delaware, just 15 delegates but the candidates, especially the Democrats are paying a surprisingly heavy amount of attention here.  The latest polls showing what is effectively a statistical dead heat between Obama and Clinton.

Delaware, again, we’re calling a tossup at this point on the Democratic side.  Again, based on the polls.  John McCain also in a fight in Delaware but has a little breathing room over Mitt Romney.  Again, based on the latest polls, 41 to 35.  Look at Mike Huckabee coming in just seven percent of the vote.  So again, based on the latest polls, this one seems to be leaning McCain.  Only Republicans holding a vote in West Virginia.  Mitt Romney has been working hard there.  We’re putting this one as leaning Romney.  Eighteen delegates to the winner tomorrow there.

The first stop down South, Tennessee, Hillary Clinton running strong, up 20 points over Obama in one recent poll.  You have to note Clinton was in Nashville and not South Carolina the night that she lost that primary to Barack Obama.  So interesting there but we’re putting this in the leaning towards Clinton column again based on the polls.  It’s a three-way battle amongst Republicans with Fred Thompson now out of the race.  His supporters up for grabs.  McCain with 32 percent, Huckabee 30 percent and Romney 22.  This one seems to be up for grabs.  Pat Buchanan, Tennessee, interesting state on the Republican side.

BUCHANAN:  I’ll say.  This is why the Romney people are saying Huckabee is taking votes all along the South away from Romney.  And McCain is now the more moderate liberal candidate.  That is where his strength is.  Romney has gotten his strength in the conservatives and Huckabee is taking away conservative votes.  He is running ahead of Romney there.  If he were out of those races down there in the South, that could be a real sweep for Romney and put him right back in contention.

ABRAMS:  And no endorsement from Fred Thompson yet.

BUCHANAN:  Thompson, I’m surprised.  Because he was a real leader in the McCain campaign in 2000.

ABRAMS:  Real quick, Karen.  Why no endorsement, you worked for Fred Thompson.  Why no endorsement from Thompson in Tennessee.

HANRETTY:  I don’t think Fred is going to have anything to say anytime soon until he decides what he wants to do with his future.  Here is a man who wasn’t real eager to do interviews in the first place as a candidate.  As a non- candidate I think he is even less inclined to do go out there and do media interviews.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Coming up, Clinton may be ahead in Tennessee, but not all of the South where Obama is leading in some polls.  Hillary may give some real fight in her adopted home state of Alabama.

And on the GOP side, the polls show Huckabee as Pat just said taking a lot of people who might otherwise vote for Romney.  We’re continuing the state to state look at the very latest polls as we preview Super Tuesday, continuing in a moment.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We’ll have all parts of the party united.  And I know that I can convince the majority of the voters that I am a solid conservative.


ABRAMS:  We’re continuing our state-to-state look at all of the latest polls as we await for Super Tuesday voting which will begin in less than 12 hours from now.  So after all the votes are counted, 24 states tomorrow, the question of course is who will be the front-runner?

OK, we’re sorting all this out, we’re going state by state.  Let’s continue now with the State of Georgia.  As we continue South.  Georgia is following South Carolina’s lead it seems, Democrats breaking for Obama with the states large black vote leaving Hillary Clinton, the latest MSNBC poll, Obama now up six points, other polls show Obama pulling ahead by double digits.  So Georgia it would seem is leaning towards Obama based on the latest poll.

The picture is much less clear for the state’s Republican vote.  Romney trailing McCain by six points, Huckabee at 18 percent, 72 delegates are at stake, it is a tossup based on the polls on the Republican side.  Let’s quickly check in with Emory University Professor Merle Black, the author of “Divided America, the Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics.”  He joins us on the phone.  Thanks a lot for joining us.  We appreciate it.

So this is one of the few states where we are seeing a distinct lead for Barack Obama based on early polling.  Why do you think that is?

MERLE BLACK, EMORY UNIVERSITY (on phone):  I think it’s because he would be doing very well among African American voters here in Georgia.  And African-Americans will probably make up 45 to 50 percent of Democratic primary voters tomorrow.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Pat Buchanan, let me ask you about that.  This is a big state for Obama.  In the sense that in all these polls it seems we’re seeing Clinton up by a little, Clinton in a statistical dead heat.  On this one it seems that Obama has got …

BUCHANAN:  This is a hugely important state not because of the delegates in the Democratic primary.  You have got to see whether Barack Obama can break through into the white vote in the South.  He only got 22 percent of it in his big victory in South Carolina.

And if he wins on the basis of the African American vote and he still gets a small percentage of the white vote, I think that means Barack Obama writes off the entire Confederacy if he’s nominated.  That’s the importance of this if he cannot break through the white vote in the Democratic Party and that’s what everybody is going to be looking at that.

ABRAMS:  It’s an interesting story brewing in Alabama as we continue south, take a look at this poll taken at the end of January, Hillary Clinton leading Obama by six points.  But experts predicting a big turnout by the state’s African American population similar to Georgia.  So this one may go into the lean Obama category as well.  Mike Huckabee making this one a real fight on the right, just two points behind John McCain, 37 to 35.  The state also has a big population of white evangelicals, and that is a ripe bloc for Huckabee.  Professor Black, again, would you say similar analysis with regard to Obama in Alabama as in Georgia?

BLACK:  Yeah I think Obama should do well in Alabama.  I also agree with Pat Buchanan here.  Obama’s challenge is to really get a much larger share of the white vote than he’s received in South Carolina and in Florida and maybe with John Edwards out of the race, he’ll be able to move up some.  But that is his real challenge.

ABRAMS:  Let’s talk about the Republicans.

O’DONNELL:  He got a very impressive share of the white vote in Iowa. 

I think most Democrats are going to worry about how Barack Obama performs in states that Democrats can win in the election.  Pat continues to obsess with can Obama win the Confederacy?  Obama cannot win the confederacy in the general election.  Everybody knows that.  Let’s see how he does with white voters in California and Massachusetts.  That’s the question.

ABRAMS:  Karen, let’s switch over to the Republicans for a moment.  In Alabama, we’re seeing Huckabee still performing well.  Some of the latest polls, McCain at 38 percent, Huckabee 26, Romney 15.

At this point, Karen, is Huckabee just a spoiler at this point or is that unfair to call Huckabee that?

HANRETTY:  I disagree.  I don’t think Mike Huckabee is a spoiler.  And I also don’t think that if he wasn’t in the race all of his votes would necessarily go to Mitt Romney.  You don’t think of the South and match up Mitt Romney with those voters.  I think it’s probably likely that it’s a mixed bag. 

I think if you look at some of the exit polling out of Florida, internal polling in South Carolina, and you ask Huckabee supporters, who is your second choice, more of them chose John McCain than chose Mitt Romney. 

So I think—you know, if Huckabee wasn’t in that race, I think McCain would be doing much better in the South.  It’s hard to say Mitt Romney would be sweeping the South. 

ABRAMS:  Here, we briefly wanted to mention Arkansas, Hillary Clinton, first lady there.  Arkansas, it would seem, is leaning towards Clinton.  Again, in these polls, Mike Huckabee, also former governor there, a popular one at that, that his state to lose.  Oklahoma, 37 delegates at stake, Clinton has run ads there.  In the last poll, Obama was third, 7 points behind John Edwards. 

So this state probably still leaning towards Hillary Clinton, again, in these polls.  Oklahoma looking like McCain country with Huckabee dropping. 

Our panel is staying with us as we hit the next battlegrounds. 

The “Show Me,” show me Missouri, big battle going on in there.  And up next, we hit the Midwest.  It looks like the polls indicating Missouri could be the state to watch.  A bellwether for both Democrats and Republicans.  We continue until we get to California, a state worth staying up late for tomorrow night. 

It will be a major make or break for all of the candidates.  Our continuing coverage of the polls leading to Super Tuesday continues in a moment.



ABRAMS:  Continuing now with our Super Tuesday preview, we’re going state to state before Super Tuesday, looking at the latest polls as to where the candidates stand.  A brief recap.  So far we’ve been in the Northeast and the South.  Of those states on the Democrat side, five appear to be leaning towards Hillary Clinton, two appear to be leaning towards Barack Obama.  Three tossups on the Democratic side, again, based on the latest polls. 

On the Republican side, four for John McCain, leaning towards John McCain, two leaning towards Mitt Romney, one leaning towards Mike Huckabee, three GOP tossups.  This in our coverage of the Northeast and the South. 

So we move on to Missouri, a bellwether in presidential politics.  On the Democratic side, the race has tightened in the last few weeks after Obama victories in Iowa and South Carolina, 72 delegates divided proportionally.  The MSNBC poll, with Clinton up 6 points over Obama.  This one though still considered a little bit too close to call on the Democratic side. 

We have another poll from Reuters/C-SPAN where the two of them are within 1 point of each other.  And the Republicans, McCain it seems getting some breathing room, but Huckabee and Romney keeping it close.  Tossups likely though, it seems, in favor of McCain based on the polls in Missouri. 

All right.  To Joan, let’s start with the Democrats.  Talking about Missouri, I mean, again, big difference between the MSNBC poll, you have Clinton up by 6 and then only by 1 point in the Reuters/C-SPAN poll.  Missouri, while its delegate number is not huge, viewed as very important in terms of momentum, trends, et cetera. 

WALSH:  Momentum, trends, demography, the urban/rural/suburban mix, it really is an important state.  And I think—look, Claire McCaskill’s endorsement did wonders for Obama.  She is a rising star in the party.  A lot of people look to her.  And I think, you know, he has got a decent shot there. 

But you know, the Clintons have both spent time in the state.  So again, I wouldn’t call that one.  But I think Obama is doing much better than anybody would have predicted three weeks ago.

ABRAMS:  Lawrence, Bill Clinton has been crisscrossing that state. 

Says to you that it’s important to the Clintons. 

O’DONNELL:  And he’ll be very effective there, but I agree, Claire McCaskill’s endorsement is key to Obama there.  And Claire McCaskill is endorsing Obama, among other reasons, as a colleague of both Hillary and Barack in the Senate.  She is endorsing him because she thinks he can win in the general election. 

Missouri is a state the Democrats can win in the general election.  And if they do, they’ll be on their way to winning the presidency.  So this is a key one to watch tomorrow night. 

ABRAMS:  Kansas holding a Democratic caucus tomorrow.  Obama has been to the state over 10 times as a candidate, spent time there as a child.  He is looking for a win.  Kansas 32 delegates on the table.  Based on the polls, it seems it would be leaning towards Barack Obama. 

Now before I go to you, Pat, let me talk about Illinois also, the state Obama currently calls home.  Illinois, Obama is looking for a big win here. 

First-term senator, now up 31 points over Hillary Clinton.  And he’s going to want to run up the score to snare a pile of those state’s 153 delegates there. 

The land of Lincoln, it would seem, is certainly leaning Obama’s way based on the polls.

It also appears to be a good news state for John McCain, breaking away from Mitt Romney with a 23-point lead.  So this one going on the McCain—leaning towards McCain on the Republican side. 

Pat, again, this home state business, right, we’re going to talk about this in Illinois with regard to Barack Obama.  He has got to just blow her out. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, he has got to win it and win it big.  But she has got to win New York, too, which is far more important than that.  Let me talk about Missouri, though.  She was up 6 points.  This is going to be a test of what everybody agrees is a tremendous Obama surge. 

Now if that surge is still rolling, that could take him to victory in Missouri.  But if he falls short there in what I think is sort of an even state now, I think it would suggest that Hillary is probably going to win New Jersey, New York, what are the other ones you’ve been talking about?  Tennessee, Arkansas.

ABRAMS:  So you think Missouri is going to tell us all those states? 

BUCHANAN:  I think—just like if Obama gets 48 percent in New York…

O’DONNELL:  We’ll know about New Jersey before Missouri. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  If Obama gets 48 in New York State, I think watch him roll across the country.  But if he—Missouri is one where if he wins it, I think he will really go well all night long. 

ABRAMS:  That’s where we’re showing where we’ve hit so far on the Democratic side, the Clinton-Obama undecided.  Go ahead.

O’DONNELL:  And, Dan, remember on Illinois, that Illinois one of Hillary Clinton’s three home states.  That’s her original home state.  Imagine if Barack Obama had grown up in New York, gone to high school—a public high school in New York City. 

ABRAMS:  It’s great to have three home states.  That would help.  It helps to have three home states. 

WALSH:  She has spread herself too thin.

ABRAMS:  Farther north in Minnesota, Obama took that stadium tour there over the weekend.  The last poll we have was taken before John Edwards dropped out.  Clinton was then up 7 points.  But I think the fact that this is a caucus state and the tightening of the race nationally means that Minnesota may lean ever so slightly towards Obama. 

For Republicans, John McCain had a lead a few weeks ago.  Romney has made—a strong ground game there.  That is, again, a Republican caucus. 

Still not sure how McCain will fare in that environment.  Republican—that’s considered a tossup right now. 

Joan, why is it that in all of these states that have Democratic caucuses that the sense is that Barack Obama is going to do better? 

WALSH:  Well, I saw Iowa, Dan, and you really do get that sense of movement and momentum when you’re in a caucus.  I mean, you really—your neighbors are there.  It feels good to go stand with Obama people.  And so I think that’s one thing.  I think Minnesota, he also moved a lot of his Iowa people, his organization into Minnesota.  He’s being depicted as the heir to Paul Wellstone in Minnesota.  So I think it’s a great state for him.  But you’re right, that caucus advantage really helps.

ABRAMS:  I think it’s about the grassroots organizations in the caucuses.  You get them on the ground.  You get the committed people going. 

BUCHANAN:  Commitment is it in the caucuses. 

ABRAMS:  And I think that is what…

O’DONNELL:  But the commitment comes from the war, Dan.  With the Democratic caucusers, the commitment comes from the Iraq War.  And Obama is their guy… 


ABRAMS:  North Dakota is a caucus…

O’DONNELL:  Most activists who go to the caucuses are with him. 

ABRAMS:  North Dakota is a caucus state.  Obama and Romney have invested resources here, despite the fact that it is a small state, at least in terms of delegates.  The state leans, it would appear again, because of the caucus, to Obama based on what are really not polls. 

But on the GOP side, probably an edge, people think, towards Romney. 

Again, tough, tough to call.  Montana, just Republicans voting tomorrow, again, this is a caucus state.  The sense is that this leans towards Mitt Romney. 

We’re almost on the Pacific Ocean as we weave across the U.S.  Our guests are along for the ride.  We are continuing state to state as we analyze the latest polls to find out who may actually pull it out or if we’re going to be totally wrong tomorrow.  Back in a minute.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Tomorrow we have another super contest.  And tomorrow, people of New York and of Massachusetts can be on the same team. 


CLINTON:  And I pledge to you, whether you’re a Pats fan or a Giants fan, if you vote for me, we will be on the winning team in November. 


ABRAMS:  We’re continuing state to state as we continue with our Super Tuesday preview, looking at all of the latest polls.  Coming up, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, back in a minute.


ABRAMS:  We’re continuing our cross this country, state to state look at the polls across the nation as we head into Super Tuesday.  We have got our panel with us.  Let’s go right to the state of Colorado.  John Edwards still running when this poll came out.  It showed Hillary Clinton had just a 2-point lead over Barack Obama.  The question of course now, is where will the 17 percent of John Edwards backers go?  Colorado at this point, again, based on the polls, is a real tossup, at least for the Democrats. 

Romney, almost a 20-point lead over McCain, 46 delegates on the table there.  We are putting Colorado in the leaning towards Romney column.  All right.  Colorado, big state, Lawrence.  You have got a lot of people from California who moved to Colorado.  Maybe a similar type of voter there. 

With Hillary Clinton only up by 2 points back when Edwards was in the race, based on what we’ve seen nationally, that may be bad news for Hillary Clinton in Colorado. 

O’DONNELL:  It could be, Dan.  Even if you split the Edwards vote evenly to Hillary and to Obama, you have got to remember there was a significant undecided in that poll, and they have to go somewhere.  And what the polls have been telling us is, generally, in the polling, they have been migrating toward Obama. 

So these numbers tonight look good for Obama in Colorado.  And he has been working Colorado hard.

ABRAMS:  And a big state for Mitt Romney. 

BUCHANAN:  It is winner-take-all.  I think it will be his best state tomorrow night.  I think that is probably the surest win for Mitt Romney.  And I say, I believe it’s winner-take-all.

ABRAMS:  Next up, Utah.  Huge Mormon population, Romney should get a big win there.  Again, that is what is expected.  The Democrats vying for 23 delegates in Utah.  They are looking for votes in Salt Lake City, too tough to call even based on the polls at this point. 

In Idaho, Obama hopes a late visit to Boise on Saturday will pay off with caucus-goers.  Again, I think we are saying that that one—that one is leaning again, it seems, towards Obama most likely because it is a caucus and it seems that the general wisdom is that many of the caucus states on the Democratic side will go to Obama. 

Now to the Southwest…

O’DONNELL:  And, Dan, and Pat should note that Idaho has less than 1 percent black population.  And he…

BUCHANAN:  It’s a caucus.

O’DONNELL:  When Obama went there, he held the biggest—he got the biggest political rally audience in the history of the state. 

ABRAMS:  Now to the Southwest.  A Democratic caucus in New Mexico. 

There have not been a lot of polls taken there.  If neighboring Arizona is any barometer, this might be a tight race.  New Mexico, again, tossup even based on the polls between Clinton and Barack Obama.  Arizona, one of the big question marks on Super Tuesday, at least when it comes to Democrats.  Just 2 points now separating Clinton and Obama. 

An interesting note, our MSNBC poll shows Obama winning the Hispanic vote there, a reversal from findings in other states. 

BUCHANAN:  This is crucial because Obama lost the Hispanic vote more than two-to-one in Nevada.  And the key question for him is can he break through into the Hispanic vote in the Southwest?  New Mexico is an excellent test.  I believe the Hispanic population there is the highest of any level in the United States. 

I think it approaches 43 percent there, and it’s something like, I think—and Lawrence can correct me, I think it’s about 33 percent in California. 

ABRAMS:  In Arizona, 64 percent white, 3 percent black, 25 percent Hispanic is what I have. 

BUCHANAN:  That’s Arizona.  I’m talking about New Mexico, is 43. 

ABRAMS:  New Mexico is 45 white, 2 percent black, 42 percent…

BUCHANAN:  Forty-five, it has gone up.

ABRAMS:  … Hispanic is the numbers that we have here based on 2006.

BUCHANAN:  Well, that will be a key question.  If he can win there, then that’s a big breakthrough.

ABRAMS:  All right.  And then the—of course, the big question is John McCain, I don’t think it’s a real big question, looks good for him to win in his home state.  I think the question is just going to be, by how much?  So we’ve finally reached the border of California.  Possibly the most interesting, the most sought after, the most fought-in state.  Our guests are back in a minute as we talk about what California looks like based on the very latest polls as we continue our state-to-state preview of Super Tuesday. 


ABRAMS:  We’re wrapping up our state-by-state preview, looking at Super Tuesday and looking at all of the latest polls as we go state-by-state. 

Alaska, it’s 13 delegates on the line for the Democrats, it’s a caucus.  And Obama has the endorsement of Alaska’s last Democratic governor.  So again, there, probably an edge to Obama,, tough to tell though. 

Republicans, likely again Mitt Romney, he has got some in-state party backing, 26 delegates there, the prize, again, Alaska, tough to know because the lack of polling there.

All right.  The biggest delegate prize of them all, California.  The polls are all over the place.  MSNBC/McClatchy found that Hillary Clinton was up 9 points over Obama, just 370 delegates that they are fighting over. 

Another poll has Obama up by 4 points.  You know, tough to call there.  So we are just going to say that that one at this point is too tough to know, based only on the polls. 

On the Republican side, same story, new MSNBC poll gives McCain a nice 9-point cushion over Romney, who has 31 percent of the vote.  Huckabee with 13.  But look at this, another poll, another story, Romney leads McCain by 3 in the race for a share of the state’s 170 delegates.  So this one too close to call at this point. 

Joan, you know, we’ve been doing these polls all hour and looking at all the latest polls, but when you see them all over the place like that, it does make you wonder how can they be so different and how can we rely on them? 

WALSH:  We definitely wonder that.  And California is the craziest.  I saw the latest swing in the polls.  And I really don’t know what to say.  I mean, the people that I trust here in both camps, Clinton and Obama, say that she’ll probably squeak out a win here.  It’ll be narrow.  Now in the spin game, that’s going to be depicted as a loss for her because California was going to be the place where she really bulked up on delegates.

She has had a huge organization here.  She has major elected officials.  So you know, if she only wins narrowly, you know the Obama people, many of us in the media will call that a win for Obama. 

ABRAMS:  And, Karen, on the Republican side, you have got McCain up by 9 points in one poll and you’ve got Romney up by 3 points in another poll.  This is where Romney’s last stand could occur.  I mean, if—maybe it’s not the right term, but if Romney wins California, it changes the game, doesn’t it, Karen? 

HANRATTY:  Yes, well, it’s proportional.  It’s not a winner-take-all state.  But if he does well in California, I think it would justify him going on.  I really do think Mitt Romney has real momentum in California. 

Talking—I’m from California, spent the last 20 years there.  And you talk to—Republican primary voters in that state are very conservative. 

They’re pro-life.  You have the Southern California Republicans are very anti- illegal immigration.  You have got one of the largest talk radio shows, the John & Ken Show in Los Angeles, which reaches probably over a million listeners, is railing against John McCain day in and day out. 

I think what—Romney will probably do fairly well in Southern California.  It’s a closed primary.  That does not help John McCain.  On the Democratic side, it’s an open primary, which I think really does benefit Barack Obama, certainly in Northern California. 

ABRAMS:  Let me do this.  I want to go back and take a look at where we are.  If we can put it up.  I don’t have the numbers in front of me.  But that is our latest—we have got seven that it looks like based on the polls are leaning towards McCain.  Five leaning towards Romney.  One Huckabee.  That’s on the Republican side.  All right.  Now let’s—and eight were up for grabs there, again based on the polls. 

On the Democratic side, eight Obama, a lot of these small caucuses, five leaning towards Clinton and nine that could be up for grabs based on the polls.  Pat Buchanan, this is based on the polls a pretty open race? 

BUCHANAN:  Yes, but I would say this, if Romney wins California, it is a huge story and it’s real a comeback story.  If Hillary Rodham Clinton holds New York and New Jersey and wins California, I don’t know how the headlines can say other than that she had a winning night. 

I mean, New York and California are the big ones.  You get New Jersey’s is next to that.  And I think she wins the night.

ABRAMS:  I agree with you.  Karen, you’ve got to call a win a win.  And that sometimes the media doesn’t like calling a win a win. 

HANRETTY:  They’re not going to call it a win.  Look, Barack Obama, all he has to come close, I’m telling you.  And it doesn’t end tomorrow by the way.  You know, on Saturday there is three, four more elections that actually, I think, in Barack Obama’s favor. 

ABRAMS:  Got to wrap it up.  Karen, thanks a lot.  Joan, Pat, Lawrence.  Coming up next, David Shuster and Norah O’Donnell continue our special coverage, preview of Super Tuesday.  See you tomorrow. 


NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR (voice-over): … is now just hours away.

And the candidates are crisscrossing the country in a furious hunt for votes.

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC ANCHOR (voice-over): Barack Obama racing to close a huge gap with Hillary Clinton, is there enough time?

O’DONNELL: Senator Clinton in Connecticut had another emotional moment on the campaign trail.

SHUSTER: Meantime, the Republicans battling over who is the true conservative.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States, I will preserve my proud conservative Republican credentials.

MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don’t want Senator McCain, we want a conservative to be in the White House.

O’DONNELL: The political world focused on what to expect tomorrow in the battle for delegates.

SHUSTER: As the campaigns try to manage the expectations, we will get predictions from our all-star panel.


O’DONNELL: Good evening, everyone, I am Norah O’Donnell in Washington.

This is MSNBC’s special preview of Super Tuesday.

SHUSTER: And I’m David Shuster, reporting tonight from Chicago. For the Clinton campaign it was never supposed to be this close.

O’DONNELL: That’s right.

SHUSTER: For months, Senator Clinton and her supporters were convinced that Super Tuesday would give her a clear delegate victory and make her drive to the nomination unstoppable.

O’DONNELL: But the latest polling suggests the delegate count tomorrow will be close. And on a conference call tonight, the Clinton campaign changed the focus away from vote totals tomorrow toward those winning over those superdelegates. Now superdelegates are the Democratic Party officials and elected lawmakers who can do whatever they want and wait until the summer convention to make their decision.

SHUSTER: The very idea that the Democratic nomination is so close that it will not be decided by popular vote margins, but rather by party operatives underscores just how tense and dramatic this Democratic race has become.

O’DONNELL: So the big question is, can the Clinton campaign stop the Obama momentum? And is Obama’s surge enough to turn this fight into the war of attrition that he wants and that the Clintons fear tonight? And if this race is headed towards a battle of superdelegates, who would win? We will get into all of that.

But first, we want to show you these live pictures, that’s right, the campaign is going on very late tonight in Boston, Massachusetts. Look, Barack Obama at 11:00 at night joined there by Senator Kerry, Senator Kennedy, trying to win in Massachusetts, that state where there is a very close race for votes going on with his chief rival, Hillary Clinton.

Joining us now on the phone is Lee Cowan, but first we want to listen to a little bit of the Barack Obama’s speech. Let’s listen in.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war, our planet is in peril, and the dream that so many generations fought for feels like it is slowly slipping away. You can see it in your own lives, in your communities, people are working harder and harder just to get by.

They have never paid more for health care, never paid more for gas at the pump, never paid more for milk. It’s harder to save. It’s harder to retire. Our health care system is in tatters. We spend almost twice as much as other countries and have higher infant mortality rates, 47 million people without health insurance.

Our schools, despite the slogan, leaves millions of children behind.

Unable to compete in an international economy. Unable to function effectively as citizens. In such a condition, we cannot afford to wait.

We cannot wait to fix our schools, we cannot wait to fix our health care system, we cannot wait to create good jobs at good wages and good benefits, we cannot wait to stop global warming, we cannot wait to bring this war in Iraq to a close, we cannot wait.


O’DONNELL: And we are joined now by Lee Cowan, NBC correspondent who has been traveling with Barack Obama.

And, Lee, a late night rally, Barack Obama trying to score some votes there in Massachusetts. Just how crucial is a win in that state?

LEE COWAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think all day, Norah, today was really an exercise in trying to hit Hillary Clinton right in her backyard. I mean, we started off the day in New Jersey, we went to a big rally in Hartford, Connecticut in the middle of the day, and then wrapping it up right here in Boston.

And sort of a who’s who of Democrats today. We’ve got John Kerry at this rally, as you said, Senator Ted Kennedy as well. Caroline Kennedy is here as well. It was—this is sort of home base obviously for the Kennedys. This is big for Barack Obama. And you know this is part of his strategy.

It’s not necessarily to win some of the states, but just to take delegates away in some of these key locations. And if it really does, as he said, come down to delegates, these kind of hits are going to matter a lot.

Even if he doesn’t win these states, if he can just do—pull enough delegates away from Hillary Clinton to make this a tight race, like everybody is saying, he doesn’t necessarily have to win tomorrow, he just has to come very close.

SHUSTER: Hey, Lee, tell us something that the cameras will not show us.

And that is, how big is the crowd? And how does it compare to some of these massive crowds that Obama has been having the last couple of days?

COWAN: Well, that is a good point. This crowd is—this is sort of a strange venue, it’s sort of in the basement, it’s not ideal for a rally.

But there are a lot of people here. They were lining up for hours outside. We got in, there were people that were here so long they were actually sleeping on the ground waiting for the candidate to arrive. We came in obviously with Obama. A lot of the people had been here for some time.

But the rallies all weekend long have been enormous. There were 15,000 people in Boise, Idaho, on a Saturday morning. We saw another 18,000 people in Minneapolis, 20,000 people in Delaware last night. Another 20,000 people in Hartford, Connecticut today. So he is playing to these big arenas. He is not going for the small venues. He is going to big arenas to try and get the most bang for his buck.

I mean, he has only got a very short time as you know to try and hit as many voters as he can. The question is though, are all these people, are they voters or are they really coming out as more of a curiosity? More of sort of the cult of celebrity that has built up around Barack Obama?

And I think that is the big question that even the campaign has—are these people really going to go out and vote? They do seem energized.

They seem enthusiastic, but we all know that we can’t just a whole lot from crowd size. We saw these same kinds of crowds in New Hampshire, and he didn’t pull it off there.

O’DONNELL: All right. Lee Cowan, there at that event in Boston, with the Kennedys and Kerry and the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, all there supporting Barack Obama.

You know, with most of the national polls showing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a virtual dead heat now, who is going to walk away with the majority tomorrow is really anyone’s guest. So joining us now with their assessments of the Democratic race are political analyst and author of “Party Crashing” Keli Goff; Democratic strategist Kelly Bingel; and Peter Beinart, senior fellow from the Council on Foreign Relations and editor-at-large of The New Republic.

Welcome to all. Wow, that is an amazing rally. I mean, you just heard our correspondent Lee Cowan mention it. Huge numbers of people coming out, 20,000 people in Connecticut for Barack Obama. Does he have the momentum before tomorrow’s big vote?

KELLY BINGEL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it certainly looks that way.

And I’ll tell you, show me a Republican rally where people are sleeping out trying to get in to see McCain or Romney, there is not that enthusiasm among the Republican candidates, we are only seeing it with the Democrats. And it’s a very exciting time to be paying attention to politics, I’ll tell you that.

O’DONNELL: Peter, what does it mean in a state like Massachusetts where Hillary Clinton wants to win in a state like that and you have got just about every single elected Democratic official standing behind Barack Obama tonight or sitting at this rally at 11:00 at night with crowds that big? Can he pull off an upset tomorrow?

PETER BEINART, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think he can. The polls have been unreliable in all of these races. But we know that momentum matters. And he clearly has the momentum. People say, does he have enough time to close the gap? He has closed the gap.

I mean, he is virtually a dead heat in most of the big states out there except a couple in the South where Obama has clear leads. He probably won’t win New York. But is it out of the question that he could win California, Massachusetts, even New Jersey? No, I don’t think it is.


SHUSTER: Keli Goff and Kelly Bingel, I was there in New Hampshire and saw the same massive crowds and Obama ended up losing on primary day. So what evidence do you have that this is not just, as Lee was pointing out, possibly people who just are curious, they just want to see what the media has been talking about and they’re still not necessarily going to go to the polls tomorrow?

KELI GOFF, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I kind of want to correct something that was said earlier though. I think at this point I don’t even know if we can really call it an upset, if that’s fair to do, because he has tightened the gap so much that this is not exactly going to be the Giants defeating the Patriots here if he does pull this off.

I mean, he is close enough that it is legitimate to consider this a statistical race. So that is theme number one.

Theme number two, I think you said it best before when you said that, I think that that is a legitimate concern of the Obama camp of whether or not some of these people showing up are Oprah watchers who definitely want to see him in the flesh, or if they’re going to be legitimate primary voters.

The one thing I would say is that let’s not forget in Iowa he did mobilize new voters. So we can’t simply dismiss the crowds as not being viable because they did turn out to be viable in Iowa.

You know, it’s hit or miss. Didn’t happen in New Hampshire, but it did happen in Iowa. So we can’t necessarily dismiss those crowds as not being viable in this race.

SHUSTER: OK. Our panel is going to stick with us. I was on that Clinton campaign conference call we mentioned earlier when spokesman Howard Wolfson kept referring to superdelegates when asked whether Hillary Clinton will lead the delegate count February 6th.

The idea that the Clinton campaign cannot talk about winning the nomination battle now without talking about superdelegates may come as a surprise to a Clinton supporter who originally spoke about Super Tuesday and said: “I expect her to win California by a sizable amount, at least double digits.” That Clinton supporter is former California Governor Gray Davis. And he joins us now.

And Governor, are you surprised that the Clinton campaign is talking superdelegates instead of talking about a clear victory like you were talking about a few days ago?

GRAY DAVIS, FMR. CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: Well, I am still predicting a victory in California, David. And I still think it will be, if not double digits, very close to double digits. The Clinton name is a brand name in California, and as I said recently, they have produced a lot of positive change for Californians. And we know that we need a president to deal with a whole host of problems that George Bush is going to leave us.

SHUSTER: But, Governor, why are the polls then going the other direction? The polls seem to be going Barack Obama’s direction. He is tightening the race in California isn’t he?

DAVIS: Yes, but I think, the Clinton operation has a wonderful get out the vote operation. I’m not sure the polls properly factor in all of the absentee ballots. And I just think end of the day, Hillary is going to win California somewhere between 5 to 10 points. And I think she is going to win more delegates on Super Tuesday than Barack Obama.

We are blessed in this party to have two phenomenal candidates. Barack Obama is an inspirational—he is an amazing candidate. And the benefits are that we have higher turnout, a more energized party and we’ll be stronger in—stronger in November.

O’DONNELL: Governor, it’s Norah O’Donnell, and the Obama campaign and their campaign manager sent out a memo quoting you today essentially.

They point out that two months ago Hillary Clinton led by 25 points.

Then it was 12 points two weeks ago, now we have a very close race in California. They’re pointing out that you say she is going to win by double digits. But this campaign is saying the Obama campaign, they think that she will not get a sizable share of the delegates.

So even if Hillary Clinton wins, you acknowledge that Obama could get a large number of delegates right?

DAVIS: Oh, sure. Yes, listen, Obama is a great candidate. And we’re fortunate he is in the Democratic Party. California—in the old days if you won California, you won all the delegates, but now it is proportional. And actually, as you know, Norah, we have 53 contests in the state. One for each congressional district. So it is possible he could win the popular vote and not get most of the delegates because of these rather unusual rules. But I do think she will carry…

O’DONNELL: It is amazing. And, Governor, how much do you think then a rally like we saw yesterday where Oprah Winfrey was there, along with Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy and then, surprise, out comes Maria Shriver, who I know you have great respect for to say, she just decided this moment that this campaign is a moment and that it is time for her to announce support for Barack Obama. Will that sway a large number of voters in your state?

DAVIS: I’m sure it made Barack Obama feel good. It was a great rally, a lot of people were inspired. I was at a rally the day before with Hillary Clinton and she had two very important elected officials come out for her: Maxine Waters, a very prominent member of the Black Caucus, and very prominent in L.A.; and Gloria Molina, probably most respected supervisor representing East L.A.

So Hillary had elected officials for her with big followings and kind of mini-machines of their own. So when I say Hillary Clinton has a better turnout—turnout mechanism, that’s what I mean. She has elected officials who have their own way of getting voters to the polls.

SHUSTER: Governor Davis, some of those elected officials are of course the superdelegates. There was a report today in The Politico that Chelsea Clinton herself was making phone calls to try to get these superdelegates to commit to the Clinton campaign. Do you think that is appropriate?

DAVIS: It certainly is appropriate. Anybody can campaign for anybody.

This is America, David. And superdelegates can do anything they want. I suspect they’re going to hold their powder until Super Tuesday is over.

And they may hold their powder a little longer. But it is not like these people haven’t been lobbied before for their votes. So it’s appropriate.

You know, I think Chelsea is great. I love it when she is around Hillary. Hillary seems to warm up around her and show more humanity. I said all along, Obama is making Hillary a better candidate. Yes it’s tougher, it’s more of a struggle, I still think she is going to win and she’s going to be a better general election candidate because of this race.

SHUSTER: Well, Governor Davis, I think Chelsea is great too. I’m just not sure we want the children of presidential candidates doing the lobbying to try to convince these superdelegates who could end up making or break this campaign. But in any case, former Governor Gray Davis, thank you very much.

And coming up next, it worked for Hillary Clinton heading into the New Hampshire primary, will her latest show of emotion help her win tomorrow?

O’DONNELL: Plus, when it comes to facing the Republican nominee in November, who do voters find more electable, Hillary or Barack? We’ll bring you that answer when we come right back.



SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have so many opportunities from this country. I just don’t want to see us fall backwards. No, so…

You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political, it’s not just public.


O’DONNELL: Remember that? That was Hillary Clinton one day before she upset her heavily favored opponent Barack Obama in the New Hampshire Primary. Now one day before Super Tuesday, it’s deja vu. Clinton teared up in an event in New Haven, Connecticut, when her friend and former mentor at Yale Law School introduced her as a “champion for children.”

It was a moment in which he praised her for being a champion for children and she really choked up listening to him, and at one moment even sort of appeared to wipe away a tear.

So the big question, will this vulnerable moment translate into another crucial turning point for the Clinton campaign? Well, let’s bring in our panel.

SHUSTER: And still with us, Peter Beinart of the Council of Foreign Relations; and political analyst Keli Goff; and Beth Fouhy, who is also with us from the Associated Press.

And, Beth, I want to start with you. Give us some context for what happened today.

Actually, let’s go right back to our panel first before we get to Beth, Peter Beinart and Keli Goff.

First of all, Peter and Keli, what do you make of Hillary Clinton getting emotional today?

BEINART: My guess is that this was genuine and spontaneous because I think as a political ploy I don’t think it makes a lot of sense. I don’t think that is the kind of thing that you can do twice. So I am inclined to believe that actually it probably was unscripted. Because I don’t think politically it is that smart, actually.

GOFF: Yes, you can’t really go to the tear well too often. So I am inclined to sort of—pun intended, I will say. You know, I think that

and I agree with what Peter just said, that you know, I don’t really know if politically there is a real impact there.

And what I would say is, a lot of people who have never worked on campaigns don’t necessarily realize this, I know you guys do, but campaigns are really exhausting. They really are. And your emotions—you know, it’s very easy to sort of hit an emotional low point, or high point or however you choose to describe it. Because most people haven’t slept very much.

So I don’t find it to be that big of a stretch of the imagination that hearing someone that she had a close relationship with say nice things about her might make her a little teary. I think it could actually backfire this time around as opposed to helping her like it might have last time.

O’DONNELL: Kelly Bingel is with us, a Democratic strategist.

And maybe we’re making too much out of the fact that she got a little choked up because someone was praising her, it’s an old friend, these are moments on the campaign trail. But does it suggest that she is tired, that she is not wearing well under this campaign? Or is it just what I just said, we’re making too much out of what was maybe a small moment?

BINGEL: I think we might be making a little much of it. It wasn’t like she really broke down. It was just a small tear. I think last time, the New Hampshire moment really did have an impact on women. I know my mom, 78-year-old woman, after that moment, she is now a Clinton supporter in down Tennessee. So I think…

O’DONNELL: Why? Because she thought Hillary seemed more real?

BINGEL: Well, yes, I think a lot of older women have trouble seeing a woman step into a position of authority. And then once they see her as a real person, someone like their own children, then they can kind of say, well, maybe it is time for a woman to step in and take charge. And so I think…


O’DONNELL: Go ahead, Keli. I mean, I just wanted to bring up what was the dynamics of this campaign. And you know, we know Barack Obama is drawing crowds of tens of thousand of people. His campaign has announced they raised $32 million in January. And Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton chairman, just told Tim Russert on MSNBC today that they raised $13.5 million in January. That is a staggering difference.

GOFF: I actually don’t think that is surprising, quite frankly. I mean, because when we were tracking the numbers, in fact, even up to a year ago, and you looked at numbers and where the money was coming from, very early on, a lot of the Clinton money was coming from high-dollar donors, you know, people who were maxing out, from celebrities to Wall Streeters to just people who are wealthy who had been supporting them since the first President Clinton was in office.

And a lot of the money that Barack Obama was raising was from people who were giving $100 here, $100 there. And those are the people who really that become the lifeblood of the campaign, because they are the people you can go back to when you’re really in a pinch and say, I really need $200. Can you just push it up a notch to $250? And that’s what he has done. And that’s why he is now at $32 million and they’re lingering at

$13 million.

SHUSTER: Peter Beinart, I want to raise a—take a look at something here, and that is the latest national poll. And it shows that if you look at January 13th, Clinton was over Obama 45 to 33. And now it’s 45 to 44 for Clinton. In other words, a statistical tie. Given the numbers that Norah was just talking about as far as the $32 million that Obama has raised, a $20 million advantage over Hillary Clinton, if this does become a war of attrition, doesn’t that benefit Barack Obama in a big way?

BEINART: I think he does benefit a little bit. I mean, look, he has had

with exception of New Hampshire, he has had the momentum for most of this race. And if you go back to the fall, except for the brief period (INAUDIBLE), he has largely been the candidate with momentum.

The question you have to ask for Obama is—given what happened in New Hampshire is, will his numbers in the polls show up on Election Day? If they do and if they consistently do and it turns out New Hampshire was an aberration, given how much money he has and how much momentum he has, then I think you have to say that he has a very good shot at winning this.

GOFF: Two word though really quickly, Mitt Romney. You know, the money only matters if you are able to maintain the momentum, as Peter suggested. All it takes is one slip up and the money really becomes irrelevant, if the media turns on you or you start to slip and lose momentum. And that could very easily happen depending on what happens tomorrow.

SHUSTER: Except for the fact that every time Obama is able to focus on a state and has some time that he can invest, his numbers go up. And when you look at the calendar, he is going to be battling for three or four states a week, not 22. But in any case, Peter Beinart, thank you. And Kelly Bingel and Kelly Goff, stick around.

O’DONNELL: And coming up, with McCain holding on to a comfortable lead in most national polls, his chances at securing the Republican nomination are looking better and better. Who gets the best shot at beating him if they make it to November?

SHUSTER: Plus, Barack Obama has been courting the Hispanic vote hard, especially in the much-coveted primary state of California, but will it pay off? Stay with us.


CLINTON: You talked about Ronald Reagan being a transformative political leader. I did not mention his name.

OBAMA: Your husband did.

CLINTON: Well, I’m here, he is not.

OBAMA: OK. Well, I can’t tell who I’m running against.



SHUSTER: Welcome back, everybody. California is the big prize tomorrow.

And with 370 delegates up for grabs, both Democratic candidates are looking for whatever edge they can get over their opponent.

O’DONNELL: A recent L.A. Times poll says Hillary Clinton holds a 2-to-1 advantage over Barack Obama among Latinos in California. And if the Hispanic vote there turns out in full force, Hillary could experience the same victory she enjoyed in Nevada. Joining us right now is Congressman Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles.

Congressman, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.


O’DONNELL: Uh-oh. And Congressman Becera is an Obama supporter and I understand that you have just returned from working the phones in East Los Angeles, trying to turn out the Hispanic vote. How is it going?

REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Very well. We had to open up a second office because we didn’t have enough room for all the volunteers.

So we were fortunate to find someone who gave us 40 phones and we went out and bought a whole set of cell phones because we needed more than that. So it is going very, very well.

O’DONNELL: Let me ask you about the polls that show Hillary Clinton with the wide lead when it comes to Latinos. As you know the Latino vote will be crucial in California. Is Barack Obama doing better than he was earlier?

BECERRA: undoubtedly. As you have been saying in your program lately, Barack Obama certainly has momentum with him, the big mo, and we are seeing the same thing in the Latino community. The more people get to know Barack, the more they like him, the more they go with him.

It’s not by any mistake that not only did the L.A. Times endorse Barack Obama, but so did the L.A. Daily News, the conservative paper of record here. And so did La Opinion newspaper, which is the paper of record in Spanish language here in Los Angeles. And quite honestly throughout the states it is the largest Spanish-speaking newspaper—or Spanish-written newspaper in the country.

SHUSTER: Well, then, Congressman, why is Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa supporting Hillary Clinton and what do you have to do to get beyond his organization in the Latino community?

REP. XAVIER BECERRA, (D) CA: Well, all we have to do is have Barack, Michelle, Maria Shriver or any of the different people who have supported Barack come out as well. I think it is a matter of momentum. A month ago people didn’t think that Barack had a chance in California.

Today we are talking about the possibility that the underdog, just as in Super Bowl Sunday may do it again like on Super Bowl Tuesday. So there are many opportunities here. I think the Latino community is beginning to recognize the ability that we have to bring in a transformational leader to the White House. And with that I think you will see a lot of Latinos taking a second look and I believe voting for Barack Obama.

N. O’DONNELL: Congressman, let me ask you to address some of the stories that have been out there that Latinos may not want to vote for an African American. Can you address that?

BECERRA: You know, there are stories—what I always tell folks in the Latino community is remember the days in 1960 where people said Americans would not vote for a Catholic. Many Latinos in this country are Catholic. Well today we find not only did John F. Kennedy become a president, become a transformational leader of the country and world. We once again have that opportunity. I believe a lot of people are seeing that. Barack Obama has stood up on some very difficult issues that are very important to the Latino community and he has been steadfast. And because of that I believe the Latino community is giving him a very close second look. Now if we had 48 hours in each day I had no doubt what would happen by Super Tuesday. But we are doing the best we can with the hours that we have.

N. O’DONNELL: Well Congressman Becerra, you’re a good man for taking a break from the phone banking to join us here and give an update. Thanks so much.

SHUSTER: And up next ...

BECERRA: Thank you.

SHUSTER: ... John McCain’s grip on the Republican nomination is getting tighter by the minute. But Mitt Romney is on a nonstop push to the finish line. Will the Republican Party have a nominee tomorrow night?

N. O’DONNELL: And later the Obama and Clinton campaigns are both trying to lower expectations ahead of tomorrow’s vote. Will it work?


MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hello, I’m Milissa Rehberger, here’s what’s happening. President Bush and Congress a record $3.1 trillion budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1st. It includes near record deficits, a big increase for the military and would cut scores of popular domestic programs.

And United Airlines announced it will charge some passengers a $25 fee to check a second bag. Those who purchase nonrefundable domestic economy tickets. For all passengers third and fourth bags will cost $100 each.

Now back to our special Super Tuesday preview.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States I will preserve my proud conservative Republican credentials but I will reach across the aisle to the Democrats and work together for the good of this country.


N. O’DONNELL: Senator John McCain today touting conservative credentials sounding like a general election candidate heading into Super Tuesday where 21 states are voting for the Republicans, 1,081 delegates are up for grabs and nine states where the winner takes all the delegates.

SHUSTER: Senator McCain is favored in five of those states. His home state of Arizona as well as Rudy Giuliani’s New York, and New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware. That’s 251 delegates. And the losers get none.

N. O’DONNELL: That’s right. And California is the grand prize with a variation on winner-take-all, awarding three delegates for the popular vote in each of the 53 congressional districts. The winner of the statewide vote then picks up a 11 more.

SHUSTER: A new MSNBC poll gives McCain a nine-point cushion over Mitt Romney who has 31 percent of the vote. Huckabee in third with 13 percent.

N. O’DONNELL: But hold on, another poll shows Romney leading McCain by three in the race for the share of the state’s 170 delegates. So clearly the race in California is a tossup.

So joining us to break it all down in the Republican race, Republican strategist Karen HANRETTY, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and Air America host and MSNBC political analyst Rachel Maddow. And Pat Buchanan, let me start with you. Mitt Romney is racing across this country trying to score some votes. He is in Long Beach, California tonight trying to win in California. Is it really a tight race there?


PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Certainly is. A tight race there.

And I think McCain testified to it when he, I believe he went to San Diego tonight. And had a rally with Arnold Schwarzenegger. If Mitt Romney can pull out a victory in California, I think it will be seen as very dramatic, tremendous encouragement to the conservative talk show hosts. Romney will look like someone who has begun to turn it around.

And there will really be a sense of momentum for Romney. It’s going to be a tough battle. I think they have got almost a third to one half of the votes. I believe have already been cast out there.

The absentee ballots are extremely heavy. So I don’t know if he can do it. If he did. It would be one of the shockers of the night one of the big headlines in the morning.

N. O’DONNELL: Karen, what about ...

SHUSTER: Rachel.

Go ahead.

N. O’DONNELL: I was just going to bring in Karen who is out in California. Karen who has worked for politicians out in California.

Karen, let me ask you, does Romney have to win California or does he just have to do well since it’s not a total winner-take-all for the Republicans in California?

HANRETTY: It is almost unimaginable that Mitt Romney could win California. There is 173 delegates but it is proportional by congressional district. There are 53 congressional districts. It’s winner take all in each. It’s complicated. But at the end of the day, if Mitt Romney won, let’s say half of those delegates, did much better than expected that might give him a little momentum to continue moving on.

But you know what? He doesn’t need to win over the support of the talk radio crowd. This is a delegate number. And John McCain is going to win New York. That’s winner take all. That’s 101 delegates. He will probably win New Jersey, Connecticut, those are winner take all states. I think the odds are against Mitt Romney even if he does well in California.

SHUSTER: Karen, on the very point. I want to run through a couple polls, and this is going to be six, seven, eight, nine. This is the Northeast.

Of course, in Massachusetts Mitt Romney is up 50-37 over John McCain.

But then when you look at New York. McCain, 54, Romney, 22. New Jersey, McCain, 46, Romney, 31. Delaware, McCain 41, Romney 35. Romney is from the Northeast. Why is he running so badly in these Northeastern states?

HANRETTY: Look, I think John McCain is a much better fit for the Northeastern. At least how he is running. He is much more independent.

Republicans in the Northeast are much more identified as moderate to independent. And you know, as Pat Buchanan said earlier today—he is exactly right—Mitt Romney is not running as a northeastern Republican. He is running as a social conservative not the kind of Republican that for instance Rudy Giuliani is. I think a lot of Rudy’s supporters are going directly to McCain.

N. O’DONNELL: Rachel Maddow, I have to talk to you about what is this war going on in the Republican Party where essentially a number of the talk show radio hosts on—are essentially trying to run this viral campaign if you will to get McCain out of this race saying he is not a true conservative. Rush Limbaugh has been doing this quite often, but today he went off on McCain again. Bob Dole sent a letter to Limbaugh defending him.

And Bob Dole essentially sent this letter and said “I worked closely with Senator McCain when he came to the Senate in 1987 until I departed.

I cannot recall a single instance when he did not support the party on a critical issue, on critical votes.

He says at my age I cannot be entirely certain here are a few key conservative examples, then he goes on, which is typical Bob Dole style.

But nevertheless, what is going on with the right on the air in trying to destroy John McCain?

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: Well, for a very, very long time, John McCain has been a Republican Party enemy of conservative talk radio. In talk radio people don’t see themselves as representative of the party, they see themselves as representatives of the ideological movement. They don’t see McCain, haven’t seen McCain as being an ideologically pure conservative, they see him as therefore pushing the party to the left and opposite of the kind of influence they want to have on the party.

N. O’DONNELL: Rachel, isn’t Romney less of a pure ideological conservative than McCain. McCain has been pro-life for 20, 30 years.

Romney has only been pro-life for a couple years.

MADDOW: Yeah, there is two big complications with the talk radio influence on the right, right now. And one of them as long as they have hated John McCain and as long as they crusaded against John McCain it’s not exactly true that Mitt Romney is a perfect vessel for ideological conservatism. All you have to do is play the tapes of him in 1994 running against Ted Kennedy, to Ted Kennedy’s left. The other side of this more local and more immediate—John McCain needs to avoid being compared with Bob Dole under any circumstances. He needs not to be in the same room, the same news story or on the same network as the name Bob Dole for a very long time.

BUCHANAN: Norah, one of the problems John McCain has got, the hottest blazing issue the last two years, the one that has animated and united the grassroots populists across the parties quite frankly has been illegal immigration and the whole country rose up to defeat the amnesty bill. What was the title of that bill? McCain-Kennedy and whenever you find legislation, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Feingold, and McCain-Lieberman.

John McCain is working with the other side to torpedo some cause in which the conservative movement is doing battle. He may represent Republicans and he may be the face of the party but John McCain will never be the face of the conservative movement. The question is will they vote for him in the race with Hillary.

SHUSTER: Here is an example, if John McCain is the nominee, you somebody who doesn’t like the neocons, somebody who doesn’t like his position on immigration, will you support John McCain as the nominee?

BUCHANAN: Look, I would not vote for Hillary Clinton. I am an anti-war Republican, an antiwar conservative, I think John McCain talking about bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran. He wants to get into Putin’s face. We’re going to expand NATO. I mean the guy said we’re have more wars. I’m sorry to tell you that. We are going to have more wars. And you get him there and Netanyahu in Israel, and you tell me we’re not going to be at war in Iran in six months.

N. O’DONNELL: Well, Pat, you are fired up. And I love it. That’s why we are coming back. You are going to return. Karen you as well. And Rachel.

And we’re going to have more coming up.

SHUSTER: Pat, I still want to know whether the answer is yes or no about supporting John McCain if he’s the nominee. We’ll get that next.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are scrambling to downplay expectations, which candidate will benefit from the spin this time tomorrow.

N. O’DONNELL: And later, our all-star panel prediction.


SHUSTER: Welcome back. We are hours away from the polls opening on the biggest primary day of this election season. And with delegates in 24 states up for grabs expectations are high. But which candidate is playing the expectations game the best?

Before we get to our panel I want to start with Beth Fouhy of the Associated Press who has been covering Hillary Clinton’s campaign and was with the senator all day today. And Beth, on this conference call today, the Clinton campaign was clearly sort of moving expectations saying when they were asked point-blank will you be leading in the delegate count? They kept saying, well when you count the super delegates. Is that expectations game? Or are they already essentially moving the goal post saying hey, media, focus on super delegates that is the only way we can get this nomination?

BETH FOUHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Playing the expectation game is a time-honored role of political consultants you always want to look a little bit better than expectations you set. You deliberately set them low. The conference call you’re referring to, David, was with Howard Wolfson and Mark Penn, the two senior strategists of the Clinton campaign. They came on basically to tell reporters that while they think she will be leading, she, Hillary Clinton, among delegates morning of February 6th after we get through Super Tuesday this contest is likely to go on quite a bit longer probably through March 4th when Ohio and Texas voters get their chance to go to the polls and maybe even to April. April 22nd when Pennsylvania votes.

They’re talking about a very protracted contest. And Howard Wolfson went as far as saying this could go to the convention. He was saying this is a political junkie’s dream. It really could go to the convention.

Something we talk about every year. But never ever happens. He was saying that his time it could be a reality.

SHUSTER: It is also Barack Obama’s dream because if it is a war of attrition given the money he raised in January, $32 million compared to

$13 million of the Clinton campaign. And given the fact that when Obama has time to have a state get to know him his numbers go up. And Hillary’s don’t.

I would think war of attrition has got to make the Clinton campaign extremely nervous. Are you detecting any of that?

FOUHY: Oh, it does make them nervous. Think about it. Their whole campaign strategy for a year was to present her as the inevitable nominee. She is going to be the Democratic candidate. So everybody better get on the bus or they’re going to miss the bus. Now we’re in a situation as you call it war of attrition. They’re going delegate by delegate with this man, Barack Obama who was virtually unknown until six months ago. It sort of diminishes her status in all of this. As you say, as the campaign goes on it seems to benefit him. He brings people over as they get to know who he is. Hillary Clinton who is already very well known doesn’t seem to have that same effect on voters. So they’re very nervous about that.

SHUSTER: And Beth, finally, expectations as far as where the Clinton campaign goes. Assuming that suppose they win California tomorrow. And that’s a sort of victory. But the delegate count is close how do you expect them to spin it at that point?

FOUHY: Well if they come out on top of the delegates in the 22 states they will certainly spin it as a win. She was victorious, came out with even a small majority of the delegates, that is a win for her. But they realize they have a tough row to hoe. They are going into the next big primary, which is the Delmarva primary, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Obama is doing very well there. They are actually pivoting forward the Clinton campaign a couple more weeks. That is a long, long time in politics as you know.

SHUSTER: Beth Fouhy, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

N. O’DONNELL: And we still have our panel with us. And Pat Buchanan, I have to ask you essentially what Beth is talking about with the Clinton campaign spin today about these super delegates and it may go to the convention. What do you think of that?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think that if Hillary Rodham Clinton tomorrow wins New York and New Jersey and she wins California I think the headlines are going to say it is a Clinton victory. And down below it we can all take a look at delegates. But I still believe in sort of headlines and momentum. I do think we could be going all the way done to the convention though because of the way they break down the delegates and in California especially and in places like that where you can get say, 55, 60 percent of the vote and not get, not get 60 percent of the delegates. So I think that it is headed down to the wire. But again. I am a believer in headlines. And the one who wins the most primaries tomorrow and especially the big ones and especially the unexpected ones.

They get the headlines.

N. O’DONNELL: Rachel, what about what Pat says, if she wins, even a squeaker in the big states she gets the headlines and that’s a big score for her?

MADDOW: But there is a difference here. Because Hillary Clinton isn’t just any candidate. If she wins a squeaker or if she wins just a thin margin of the number of states, that is going to look like a fall from grace because as Karen mentioned we are looking at a campaign that was based on the idea of her inevitability. Barack Obama has much more staying power after tomorrow than Hillary Clinton does. Because anything other than a big win for her will look worse than it would for him.

BUCHANAN: Look at three states. New Jersey, Missouri, California.

N. O’DONNELL: Yes, we’ll watch the states. You guys are sticking with us. We’re be right back with predictions from all of you about what is going to happen tomorrow.



MCCAIN: I am superstitious as I said earlier and for me to start talking what would happen after I win the nomination when I have not—when I have not won it yet is in direct violation of my superstitious tenets.


N. O’DONNELL: He is so funny on this. John McCain may not want to take a stab at any predictions for tomorrow. But that is certainly not going to stop our panel who will come out on top tomorrow because we want to know who is going to come out on top in tomorrow’s big winners and losers segment. So Keli, I’ll start with you. You can talk about a Democrat or Republican, what is your big prediction for tomorrow?

KELI GOFF, AUTHOR, “PARTY CRASHING”: My big prediction tomorrow, I think we could have a national big picture that looks like Nevada in which Clinton actually wins but Obama takes more delegates. I think that could be a big surprise for tomorrow.

SHUSTER: Keli, I am going to agree with you. But I am going to predict on the Republican side. It’s going to be a big day for John McCain. So Pat Buchanan, again to what we were talking about earlier what is your prediction and if it is John McCain rolling towards the nomination what is a conservative like yourself going to do?

BUCHANAN: I can’t tell you what I am going to do. Because MSNBC doesn’t allow us to endorse as you know, David. But I think this, Mitt Romney, the continuance of his campaign and credibility will depend on two states. Georgia where he has a shot. But most importantly, California. I think he has got momentum out there. And I think he could be ahead, but I think the decision out there will depend on the early voting. But I agree with you. It is going to be a very big day for John McCain. The question is whether it becomes the final day of the campaign virtually.

N. O’DONNELL: Karen, quick prediction?

HANRETTY: I think that John McCain takes California, the early voting puts him over the top. The people have been voting for a few weeks now.

Big parties in Arizona tomorrow for the senator and talk radio is going to have—think it will be black Wednesday for them.

SHUSTER: Rachel Maddow, speaking of talk radio. I predict you are going to surpass Rush Limbaugh in an audience before this is out. Give us your prediction as far as the race goes.

MADDOW: If Rush Limbaugh keeps spending every show about how much he hates John McCain. I think you are right. I think my big prediction tomorrow is tomorrow is going to be our last day with Mitt Romney on the presidential campaign trail. I think that is the big person we have to say good-bye to after tomorrow.

SHUSTER: Good-bye to Mitt Romney. And Pat again that takes us back to the same issue. With John McCain is there a way for conservatives to bridge their differences with John McCain?

BUCHANAN: He can never be the leader of the conservative movement, he’ll be the leader of the Republican Party. And the way he will have to bring them back, two ways. He will have to start reaching out. And a lot will move towards him and he can move toward them. And hope the Democratic candidate, especially if it is Hillary Rodham Clinton will unite Republicans who say you cannot have President Hillary Rodham Clinton and heavily Democratic Congress in both houses or everything we have been fighting for is going to be lost. There are things that are going to bring conservatives back to John McCain.

MADDOW: All right. Pat Buchanan, thank you so much. That does it for us.

Thank you so much for watching. See you back here all day tomorrow on our Super Tuesday coverage. Thanks, David.

SHUSTER: Thanks, Norah, and stay tuned for special coverage tomorrow.

Bring you results as they come in. Up next, COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN. Good night everybody.