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Panel Previews the Night's Results

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to get through today and we going to see how we do. And I'm feeling good about today. And then we'll look forward to tomorrow.

But I believe in taking one day at a time.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a sizable delegate lead that is going to be hard to overcome. You will recall that when we were winning those 11 races in a row, the theory was they had to pull us out in Texas and Ohio, and I don't think that will happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: Some thoughts on the Democratic race now from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of "Fortune Magazine, Bill Kristol, Editor of "The Weekly Standard," and Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, FOX News contributors all.

People are saying this is make or break for Hillary Clinton. Will she make it, Fred?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes, I think so. I think we saw for the first time some real slowing in the Obama momentum, if you want to call it momentum--I mean, 11 wins in a row, I guess you have to call it momentum.

For the first time he got some tough press, reporters asking him tough questions. He got tied up in this NAFTA-gate in Ohio, where his economic advisor was telling Canadian officials that he didn't really mean it when he said he would be tough on NAFTA and he is going to use it as a hammer and change the thing, but he really doesn't believe that.

And then the ad probably helped.

HUME: You think the phone ad helped?

BARNES: It must have helped. I know Bill is a big champion of this ad, but, look, it's one of the intervening events.

But the other thing that I think helped Hillary Clinton and hurt Barack Obama, and it was the arrogance of the supporters of Obama demanding that Hillary Clinton get out of the race.

Well, that was crazy. Why should she get out of the race when she still has a chance of winning the nomination? Not as good of a chance as Obama's, but she still has a chance. It was very arrogant, and I think there may be a backlash from that.

NINA EASTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF OF "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: And what's interesting, too, is the backlash from the female side.

I keep thinking it sounded like whining when they say she is being attacked because she is a woman, but it seems to be is having some impact as it did in New Hampshire, that women are rallying around her. It is clear from the exit polls that she is doing exceedingly well with women.

She's also, very interestingly in Ohio, doing really well with union households. And the thing that is surprising about that--

HUME: Why is that surprising?

EASTON: Because Barack Obama has locked up real key union organizers in that state--"Change to Win," this coalition of six unions--we heard from the head of that, Anna Berger yesterday, who said "We have so many volunteers on the ground in Ohio, we don't know what to do with them."

So he's had real strength in terms of get out the vote with the union members, and yet she's still doing really well among union households.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton, apparently has been winning voters those who decided in the last three days in Texas.

HUME: We saw that earlier, Bill, in an earlier contest when she would win with people who decided on the last day. But the last three days, that's something new.

KRISTOL: Right. And the magnitude is bigger. Throughout, there has been a little bit of a default to her, which makes sense as she is the more experienced, less risky candidate in the end.

In Texas in the last few days and the current exit polls, she won 66- 34. That is where my favorite ad, the red phone ad, the appeal to fear, played in Ohio. In the last few days she seems to be wining 55-45.

So, in Texas, she is doing ten points better where they played the red phone ad. In Ohio, they thought they wanted an economic message and they didn't play the commander in chief, 3:00 a.m., do you know where your children are ad.

HUME: Could that be because Texas voters have a better economy and are less preoccupied by that than they are by national security, and the Ohio vote is the other way around?

KRISTOL: It could be, but if I were running the Clinton campaign--I'm not, as you may have noticed--I would have put up that ad in Ohio. It this really bears out if they do detailed analysis and see that ad moved people, she will hit that theme for the next six weeks, five weeks until the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I think that's absolutely key what happened in the last few days and whether or not the ad worked and the controversy over NAFTA.

But I'm looking also at the racial politics here. In a state like Ohio--remember, we were all thinking after Wisconsin, the fact that Obama had won the white vote was very important, and it could impact because Ohio is similar in terms of its makeup what takes place in Ohio.

But you look at Ohio, Hillary Clinton not only won white men, she also won white women. But the idea that she held the white men showed and substantially--our exit polls show by 57-41, is an indication that she is going to do very well in this race.

And, similarly, in Texas, I look at the racial politics, and there, what you see is African-Americans turn out about 18 percent of the total turnout, so far. Hispanics double that just about by 32 percent, and Hispanics overwhelmingly--64/3--going with Hillary Clinton.

HUME: That's what we expected.

WILLIAMS: I didn't expect it.

HUME: We expected that to be a point of strength. We didn't know how much strength.

WILLIAMS: Correct. And I thought that south Texas, which is where the Hispanic vote is concentrated, the question is, was Hillary Clinton losing some support? It was thought that Barack was making inroads, making religious appeals to Hispanics, and all that.

HUME: Let's assume for the sake of discussion that she wins one or both of these tonight, but it's close, respectable, it's not a blowout. So the delegate count won't change, the delegate lead for Obama won't change all that much. How much chance does she have to win the nomination?

WILLIAMS: I think she has a great chance.

HUME: Really. Bill, do you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: Remember, he spent a ton of money, and he didn't get it.

HUME: Bill, how much of a chance?

KRISTOL: She has an outside chance, but he is still the pretty substantial favorite.

HUME: Do you agree with it?

EASTON: It is a difficult math equation. It has to do with the super delegates and whether they go with where the momentum is, or whether they go--

HUME: But then she might have some momentum.

EASTON: Yes, that's what I mean.

BARNES: That's what's important. If she wins both of these states, Ohio and Texas, or even if she wins one, then you go into Pennsylvania, a state--the oldest state in the country, in other words, and the oldest average age, and she does better--

HUME: It is pretty old the other way, too.

BARNES: That, too. We can go back to the Quakers, but I won't get into that.

But she does best among the seniors. That is probably her best groups.

Then you have all the super delegates, you have these 76 add-on delegates, which they add later, and if she has done well in these primaries, then she can make a case at the convention--it would have to be beforehand--we have to do something about Michigan and Florida.

WILLIAMS: Here are the key point--if you speak in those terms: Democrats, 67 percent of the vote in Texas among Democrats. Clinton wins and 53/47 in Ohio, among Democrats, again--she is winning at the Democrats.

HUME: When we come back, we will look at the Quakers--just kidding. We will look at John McCain's race and how it may shape up. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HUME: And we're back with our panel.

McCain expected to do very well tonight. He is expected to, basically, win everywhere, and we would all be astonished if he didn't.

So now it gets down to how he matches up--we talked to Karl Rove about this earlier--about how he matches up with each of the two Democratic candidates. I would like to get your thoughts on that, starting with you, Fred.

BARNES: He doesn't match up now as well now as he hopes to in November, because when you see Obama, everybody talks about he's going to bring us together and he's going to end polarization and he's going to go across the aisle and do all these things that are so wonderful, and his actual record, and his actual beliefs, which are very, very liberal--the "National Journal" called him the most liberal member of the Senate of the 100 senators--McCain has to make that an issue.

And I think national security, in particular--right now, Iraq shows up--Obama's position, the voters like that better, which is get out right now. But with the surge improving in Iraq, I think it will look different in November.

So when you do that, national security, taxes, McCain just has to start going after him on the issues, and not personal attacks, not smears, not anything like that, because that won't work.

HUME: And it would be out of character for McCain anyway to do that, right?

BARNES: Well, it would be a huge backlash.

HUME: Juan, your thoughts.

WILLIAMS: My sense is that there is still a huge gap in terms of enthusiasm and in terms of money. And so people are talking about the need for McCain to solidify his base, but it seems to me he has got to convince people that he can win.

And so he's got to convince Republicans, and I think he is making steps towards that. He is getting the governors and everybody else to rally around him, and I think tonight will be a big step.

HUME: Nina?

EASTON: There is a term of art going around Republican pollster community, "problematic environment" for the Republicans.

I think this election is going to be decided on the economy, and he's got to come up with an aggressive dressing of the economy, jobs, and healthcare. He wants this to turn on national security, but it's not.

HUME: Can a Republican, after eight years of a Republican in the White House and what is perceived to be a bad economy, overcome that with a plan?

EASTON: History says it is extremely difficult.

HUME: But he's not an incumbent--Bill?

KRISTOL: He is not an incumbent.

McCain is behind Obama about four points in the average of the polls, right now. I would say that that is a surprisingly small gap. Obama has had an unbelievable wave, and the Democratic enthusiasm, as Juan said, is huge, but the generic ballot is about plus 8 plus 10 Democrat. They won the national vote in 2006 by eight points in the congressional elections, and it is only a four-point gap.

It tells me so far that lots of independents are not convinced by Obama. It tells me McCain is outperforming the generic Republican number. And when Obama, if he beats Senator Clinton, he will get another bump, and he will be ahead by 8, 10, 12 points. But that could be like Dukakis, who had a big lead over President Bush--

HUME: How much does it help McCain that shuts this down early and the Democrats are still going?

KRISTOL: I don't know. There is not much history. If you look at history, you can have contested fights late, and then the candidate does fine.

HUME: But that depends on how ugly the contested fight is, right?

WILLIAMS: And whether or not some Democrats get turned off in the process. And then, if they don't turn out--

HUME: You are beginning to see a little of that now with more and more people say they would be dissatisfied if the other guy wins on the Democratic side.

WILLIAMS: Yes. And I think this is particularly true among young voters.

For more visit the FOX News Special Report web page.

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