Frank Luntz and Kirsten Powers Weigh in on Penn. Polls

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: You are seeing on the screen a rally for Barack Obama. He is about to speak at Evansville, Indiana. As soon as that happens we will have it for you here on this special edition of "Hannity & Colmes."

We see the momentum building at least in that particular location for Barack Obama. He will be on the screen in just a moment.

But we are back with Frank Luntz and Kirsten Powers. Also joining us is pollster Scott Rasmussen. Scott, tell me, since you have yet to weigh in, what does this mean for Hillary Clinton? Does this change poll numbers going forward?

SCOTT RASMUSSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There is no momentum in 2008. There are two fixed constituencies. Hillary Clinton won the support she should win, and Barack Obama won the support that he should win.

What this does is it gives Hillary Clinton another chance to keep fighting in the hope that Barack Obama will make a mistake. And, perhaps, the most significant thing of all is that she will be trying to pressure him into a mistake by calling for more debates.

COLMES: What does it meant that — Pennsylvania has been talked about as a state that has maybe three different parts to it, representing very different conservative, liberal, and somewhere in between, and she won in almost every sector of the state. What is it different in Pennsylvania than the other states where she has not done as well?

Watch the panel discuss the Pennsylvania primary reults: Part 1 | Part 2

RASMUSSEN: I do not think there is all that much different about Pennsylvania. This is a state that when we looked at it on your show on March 4 looking ahead, we said Hillary Clinton was expected to win.

Barack Obama spent an awful lot of money, perhaps thought he had a shot, and was gaining ground a little bit until he made some gaffes. One was an unforced error; one came up in a relatively poor debate performance, and that slowed his momentum.

But, ultimately, all of these races since Super Tuesday have been playing out as expected, and, again, that leaves Hillary Clinton with just one path to the nomination, hoping that Barack Obama makes a big mistake.

COLMES: Let's talk about the money here, because he really did outspend — Barack did outspend Hillary in this state, and we were going over during the break, an enormous amount of money, which didn't seem to have the intended effect.

KIRSTERN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, I think there is a little difference in Pennsylvania. Remember, there are a lot of states where Hillary was expected to win, and so Barack in a way conceded those. He did not pull out all of the stops.

In Pennsylvania he pulled out all the stops. He spent $11 million to her $5 million. So we are talking about a lot of money, a lot of time spent there. He tried to do well there.

And, as I said before, he is the frontrunner. And at this point, at this late stage, you have to start asking questions, why are late deciders consistently going for Hillary? We have seen this all the way through. And why is he not able to get these people to come over to his side?

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Kirsten, why is she winning the states that she is winning? Why is she winning New York, New Jersey, Florida, if you believe that, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and California?

POWERS: Well. I mean, California is a little different, but she tends to win with working-class voters. And you can see these are the people —

HANNITY: The Reagan Democrats. He is not attracting any of them.

POWERS: Exactly.

HANNITY: As we look at the exit poll data, as we have been telling you, throughout the night here on the FOX News Channel, the racial divide continues to exist. Nearly 90 percent of African- Americans are going for Barack Obama, 60 some odd percent of white voters are going for Hillary Clinton.

If you look at Barack Obama, he is viewed as — hang on one second. Before we get to more of the exit polling data, as you can see there on your screen, here is Senator Barack Obama, and I believe that is his wife coming there with him.

And, obviously, he has an enthusiastic crowd. I am not sure if anybody is fainting there yet tonight, but it is always a possibility at a Barack Obama speech.

But obviously he was trying earlier today to manage the expectations of tonight's results, saying that he thought he would do better than what was expected and that Hillary would not do well, but he was not anticipating a victory of any kind.

Kirsten, as we go back, the change vs. experience model remained here — those looking at the experienced candidate went for Hillary Clinton, and those looking for change when for Senator Barack Obama, who now takes the stage here.

POWERS: This has been a consistent theme that we've seen here. And I think if you look at the demographics of the breakdown, the people who are voting for Hillary are people who are not making that much money, and they feel a lot more desperate.

HANNITY: What do you make of the racial divide that keeps coming up in every single solitary primary? It exists there. What is one to make it that you're a Democrat?

POWERS: I think it is obvious. There is a tribal aspect to this. You see it women, or white women, going with Hillary, and you see African-Americans going with Barack Obama. I do not think that that is that unusual —

HANNITY: Here is Senator Obama taking to the podium.


COLMES: Hillary Clinton giving a victory speech in Pennsylvania, saying it's not "yes, we can," it's "yes, we will." Some of her campaign themes, like solutions and being ready to lead, these are some of the themes she talked about during her campaign. A very receptive crowd, obviously.

And joining us now is pollster Frank Luntz and FOX News political analyst Kirsten Powers. And Frank, you are the words that work guy—how about the words she just used to this crowd in Pennsylvania?

FRANK LUNTZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Fantastic, absolutely the best speech that I have heard her give. Words will become solutions, hope will become reality—drawing a clear, crisp contrast with Barack Obama, trying to say that while he is offering something, she is actually going to deliver it. And in fact, she used the word "deliver."

Earlier on she talked about "affordable," she is the comeback kid. She is fighting for us. Perfect tone, almost perfect delivery, an audience that was clearly engaged.

There is one thing I saw that really blew me away. There was a young African-American woman as the Senator was speaking, and she was reading from that card where the person says "keep fighting for us." That young African-American woman clasped her chest, and she was clearly moved.

The audience at home not only saw Senator Clinton, but the faces behind her, you could not have asked for a better speech than that one.

COLMES: Frank, last night you were presenting some focus groups, and among the things she said in the focus group where the dials they went down was talking about being the granddaughter of someone from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and you said that did not resonate. But talking about being practically a native daughter tonight did.

LUNTZ: Because, Alan, is totally different. When she was talking about her, herself, and what she had done, and her grandparents, it doesn't resonate because that is the past.

When she tonight talked about jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, talked about healthcare, not for most people, which is what Obama is promising, but for everybody, she was talking about not just the people in the room, but people watching tonight.

Whether you like or dislike Senator Clinton, the language that she used was unifying, inclusive, inspirational, aspirational, and passionate. That is all of the key attributes you want in an election night speech.

COLMES: Let me go to Kirsten Powers here. The big question now is whether or not this victory is an upward blip on the radar screen, or is it enough to really propel her, get momentum going, convince super delegates, and move her towards the nomination.

POWERS: Of course, that is the big question, as everyone points out. He has more pledged delegates, Obama has more pledged delegates. The chances of overtaking him on that are very minimal.

But I would say that this is a big win for Hillary Clinton, and let's remember, the last two states, also, she won. And it raises the question, and it will be a question that her campaign will continue to raise, which is why can't Barack Obama, the frontrunner, the presumed nominee, the one with all of the money, the one with the media behind him, why can't he win?

HANNITY: Kirsten, I want to follow up on that theme here. If these numbers go, as some are projecting a little higher tonight, and that might mean 10 points or more, here, I would argue there is no other way to spin it—this would be a wipeout.

And going right to the heart of your point here, why can't Barack Obama do better and close this? Starting with Reverend Wright forward and ending with the San Francisco comments, has a new narrative emerged that Democrats doubt his ability to be a strong candidate in November. Is that part of it?

POWERS: I think the psychology that you normally see among voters is that when you have a frontrunner and somebody who has the wind behind them and who everybody thinks is going to be the nominee, people start to say, I want to go with the winner, I want to go with that person.

And what is happening here is that there are not taking that opportunity. And everyone is talking about how everyone wants this race to end. Well, people in Pennsylvania had the opportunity to end the race, and they chose to go with Hillary Clinton.

HANNITY: Frank Luntz, if we could—go ahead, my friend.

LUNTZ: None of the voters want this race to end. The people who want the race to end are the pundits. It's Howard Dean, quite frankly, who created this mess with the super delegates. The voters appreciate the fact that they get a chance to choose.

Let me tell you something, Sean. Indiana is going to vote in record numbers. They are looking forward to this contest. It's only the Washington politicos that are trying to cut it off.

HANNITY: But they are also seeing, Frank, that there is a danger there, and that is that they are driving up each other's negatives, and the argument is that that will hurt them in, come November here.

But, Frank, how important were the words in San Francisco for Barack Obama, that people are bitter in Pennsylvania, words that were not meant for public consumption, that there are clinging towards their guns, clinging towards their religion, that they have an antipathy towards those who are not like them. How relevant do you think were those words in this campaign?

LUNTZ: As it turns out, first off, what viewers do not know is that the exit polling here once again was way off. There were looking at about a four-point victory, obviously, it is not going to be that way. It looks like those words were very important.

And the debate performance where Senator Obama did quite poorly in defending those words, that has had a significant impact. That is what he can't close the deal.


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