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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  November 5, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PST

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then they have added two stops, they'll be in cleveland and he will be in pittsburgh. two swing states in which we will see mitt romney. we'll be following both mitt romney and the president. big day for us here at cnn tomorrow. for now, let's go to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." wolf? happening now, a grueling and very tight presidential race entering its final hours with the candidates campaigning right down to the wire. we're watching all of their final rallies. we're going to hear from president obama in ohio in a little while. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." it's election eve in america. 26 hours to go until the first polls close. as voters pick the next president of the united states. and the unparalleled coverage
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we've brought you all through the campaign certainly continues today. our cnn correspondents are trailing the candidates. they're diving into the issues. they're talking to voters in every critical battleground state as we count down these final hours to election day. let's begin our coverage this hour, covering mitt romney, the republican nominee is campaigning his way up the east coast today. his latest stop, virginia with 13 critically important electoral votes. president obama took them in 2008. president bush took them in 2004. cnn national political correspondent jim acosta is traveling with the romney campaign. he's joining us now from george mason university in virginia. what's going on? what's the latest, jim? >> reporter: wolf, mitt romney is wrapping up what will be his final campaign stop in the battleground state of virginia. his top campaign officials are predicting a clear and decisive victory tomorrow night. but they're going to be
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campaigning on election to reach what they're calling the last few undecideds. after his long five-year run for the presidency, mitt romney is sprinting to a finish line that is finally in sight, a contest the gop nominee says is between two competing visions, a brighter future -- >> tomorrow, we begin a new tomorrow. tomorrow, we begin a better tomorrow. >> reporter: more storm clouds on the horizon, he warns, if the president wins a second term. >> that same path means $20 trillion in debt. it means continuing crippling unemployment. it means depressed home values, stagnant take-home pay and a devastated military. unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession as well. >> reporter: his election campaign stops in florida, virginia, ohio and new hampshire are critical. while they carry a combined total of 62 electoral votes, any one of them could make or break his chances. and he's not finished yet.
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a top campaign official confirms he will make more stops on election day. back in ohio and in pennsylvania. a state romney suddenly sees moving his way. but complicating his message, his final targeted states feature unemployment rates that have plummeted in recent months. florida's governor rick scott says that's no thanks to the president. >> guess what? the biggest drop in unemployment in the country is in our great state of florida. and you know what? government didn't do it. you did it. >> what we see now is an administration and a presidency littered with broken promises. >> reporter: romney's running mate, paul ryan, who's largely stayed out of the spotlight in the final days of the campaign, has started to ratchet up the rhetoric. on a conference call with religious conservatives, ryan warned the president is leading the nation down a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values that made us such a great and exceptional nation.
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a campaign spokesman said ryan was talking about religious liberty and obama care, topics he has mentioned frequently during the campaign. and there is no rest for this campaign. mitt romney will wrap up his night tonight where his campaign began, in new hampshire, at an event where kid rock will be performing. then he gets up in the morning with his wife, ann, and goes to vote near his home in massachusetts. then it's off to those election day stops in ohio and pennsylvania. i talked to a senior romney adviser about those stops. they will not be big campaign rallies. he's going to be thanking his supporters and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to get him elected. >> certainly will. thanks very much for that, jim acosta. let's go to philadelphia right now. the former president bill clinton is out there campaigning for president obama right now. let's listen in. >> then he repeated the charge. oh, but this time, he made it juicier. he said, because chrysler is
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owned by fiat, his last choice was, the president is secretly working with the italians. to move jobs to china. i'm telling you folks, he is coming after the irish next week and i am toast. i am in real trouble. you're laughing but who wants a president that will knowingly, repeatedly tell you something that he knows is not true? and when all this happened, they put it on television. they ran an ad. and the more they were criticized, the more they upped the ad buying. when i was a kid, if i got my hand caught in a cookie jar where it wasn't supposed to be, i turned red in the face and i took my hand out of the cookie jar. you've got to give it to governor romney. when he gets his hand caught in the cookie jar, he just digs
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down for more cookies. i want you to send him a message tomorrow. you don't have to be from ohio to want your president to tell you the truth when it comes to jobs for the american people. [ cheers and applause ] now, i'm for president obama because, as allison said, he's got a much better plan for the future. he knows what works. what works is what works here. we had all that cooperation after sandy. you love that? we have all the cooperation from the community college, you like that? that's the way you create jobs. you look all over america. the places that are doing well have government and business and foundations and universities and colleges working together. what is obama's plan? invest into new technologies that we know are going to grow and information technology and
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biotechnology, in clean energy, in modern manufacturing, in modern agriculture. and train and educate people to do that. he has invested in preschool, in the race to the top, and the finest student reform in my lifetime. now, next year, if the president is reelected, here's what's going to happen for everybody. you can say "win" when you make it happen. because i want you to know what's at stake here. the good news is we still ranked near the top in the world in the percentage of our young people going on to college. the bad news in the last decade is we dropped to 15th in the percentage of our young adults with four-year degrees. and we all know why, don't we? the costs went up. the aid didn't keep up, the economy went down and people
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became terrified that they couldn't borrow enough money to stay in. here's what president obama and the congress did, thank you, allison schwartz. here's what they did. they changed the old system where we paid the banks a fee and guaranteed their loans at higher interest rates to a new system in which every college in america that participates in this program certifies the students, they get the loan at lower interest rates. and they have, starting next year, every single student in the united states of america will have the absolute right to pay those loans back at a low fixed percent of their income for up to 20 years. now, that will revolutionize the future and allow people to graduate. nobody will have to drop out again. so what's the romney position? first, he wants to have a $5 trillion tax cut.
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then he wants to spend $2.8 trillion on things the president doesn't want to spend money on, like $2 trillion on the defense budget that the pentagon says they don't need. and over $700 billion on medicare insurers, not medicare recipients, that the aarp says they don't need. romney wants to convince every senior in pennsylvania that he knows what's good for them and the aarp has become their worst enemy. that's a pretty tough sell. he just wants to give the insurers the money they're not going to need. when you ask him, how will you pay for that? he says, you have to see me about that after the election. but the governor just told us the debt was the big problem and you just added over $7 trillion to the deficit. he has made a commitment to cut
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investments in research and development, in biotechnology, in clean energy -- pennsylvania alone has 4,000 people working in the wind energy business electrifying 180,000 homes. and you haven't even started with what you could be doing here to own the future, be independent and export our energy instead of having to import it. >> the former president of the united states, bill clinton, he's making a visit right now to pennsylvania. all of a sudden, pennsylvania could be in play at this late moment tomorrow. mitt romney on election day will visit pittsburgh. there's a lot going on. we have a lot to discuss. we'll continue to monitor what the president is saying -- what the former president is saying. the current president is getting ready to speak. the first lady getting ready to speak. later we'll hear from mitt romney, paul ryan. we're watching all of the candidates on this race to the white house. much more of our coverage right after this. sweepstakes today. mortgage up to five winners
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let's get some more on what's going on. romney's end-game strategy, specifically our cnn contributor ryan lizza joins us. were you surprised when you heard that romney will pay a visit to pennsylvania tomorrow, pittsburgh? ohio, tomorrow on election day? >> you can thank some money in pennsylvania and that can be just for show. but when the candidate is going there, that's the scarcest commodity in a campaign. >> do the republicans think pennsylvania is in play? >> there was one poll that was very close. that poll's tended to have a republican skew. but i think what they're thinking is, if they can't win in the midwest, if that firewall that obama seems to have in wisconsin, ohio and iowa stays for obama and they can't penetrate nevada, those four states, romney could win with pennsylvania and then the other swing states. >> virginia -- >> and florida. it's not his best -- it's not
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where he would want to be at this point in the campaign. but looking at where the polls have been in ohio all year, i think they think it's worth a shot. >> you think it makes a difference on the last day, the day people are voting for a candidate to show up in pennsylvania and ohio? >> here's the thing about that. in those other states, early voting is well under way and most of each sides' votes have already been banked. pennsylvania doesn't have a big early voting program. so everyone that's going to vote in pennsylvania is going to vote on tuesday. so he might think, maybe this is my chance, i have a captive audience there because obama hasn't been there much. and i've got more votes that are available to me in pennsylvania. >> we're all spending so much time thinking about ohio. but is there another state you're looking at closely right now? >> the thing i'm looking at is some of these states where hispanics are a rising populati population. places like nevada a little bit in northern virginia, florida. i think one of the big stories when this is all over is going to be that demographic story,
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how much this country's changed in the last four years. and if romney loses, i think a big debate in the republican party is going to be over how they win the white house again, given their -- up until now anyway, their troubles with the hispanic community. i think romney's numbers among hispanics and other minorities are going to be a big story after election day. >> if romney loses, they will look at the recriminations -- >> if he loses. >> what would be the debate in the democratic party if the president of the united states were to lose? >> when either side loses, liberals say the democrat wasn't liberal enough. conservatives always say he wasn't conservative enough. i think a lot of democrats would say, one, that obama missed his opportunity in 2009, wasn't aggressive enough on the economy, shouldn't have pursued health care. i don't know if that's the correct analysis. but a lot of people will say that. and i think they'll look at the debates and say, where was barack obama in that first debate? and they'll point to that as the moment he lost it. >> that would prove to be the
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game-changer because the president could have put it away if he could have come out swinging in that first debate. if he would have started talking about the 47%, the cayman islands and the swiss bank account, which he didn't do. >> if he were as aggressive in that debate as his advertisements, the election might not be as close as it is right now. >> one debate and people thought debates don't make any difference. clearly had an impact. >> the first one did. >> ryan, thanks very much. president obama's making his last preelection stop in ohio. we'll listen to his closing argument in this must-win state. there are a lot of warning lights and sounds vying for your attention. so we invented a warning
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president obama getting ready to speak at a rally in columbus, ohio. we'll go there when we see him. meanwhile, we're going to quickly which can in on three of the battleground states that we expect potentially decide this presidential election. let's start with ohio. its 18 electoral votes are crucial. you've heard it a million times by now. but history show that is republicans don't win the white house if they don't carry ohio. president obama won ohio back in 2008. george bush barely carried ohio in 2004. cnn's martin savidge joins us from cleveland. early voting, martin, very important for the president. how's it looking where you are in cleveland right now? >> reporter: well, at least the
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cnn poll of the early voters seem to be going very much in president obama's favor. let me point out something here. the early voting has finally come to an end in the state of ohio. the reason i say finally is it began october 2nd. it ended at 2:00 this afternoon. the complete tallies for the state are not up. but up until friday, 1.6 million early votes were cast. of that, 1.1 million were absentee ballots. in cuyahoga county, 282,589 votes were cast. here's the number that could end up haunting the state. 1.3 million absentee ballots were sent out. so far, 1.1 million have come back. 200,000 absentee ballots still out there somewhere. the worry is that many of those ballots could actually be people who show up to vote on election day. they can do that but they'll be given a provisional ballot. we already know there's a lot of legal wrangling over those ballots in this state.
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and those won't be counted until ten days after the vote. 200,000 votes still out there, not counting for ten days, could make all the difference as to who wins or loses ohio. it may not be over in ohio on wednesday. >> you mentioned how people are tired of all the ads. has anything changed? >> reporter: no, it hasn't. the attitudes on the ads have only gotten worse. the attitudes on the robo-calls, those are really gotten people upset. as i pointed out at that time, really hasn't changed. but if you watched all the campaign ads that have aired in this market since the beginning of october, you would have sat in front of your television for 4 1/2 days watching them back to back to back. it's no wonder people can't wait for tomorrow. they hope it ends then. >> martin salve img, thank you. our next stop is colorado which has nine electoral votes just like ohio. went for president obama back in 2008 after helping george w.
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bush win the white house in 2004. cnn's ed lavandera joins us from denver. ed, ballots are already being counted right now. what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, they haven't been officially tabulated. that can't be done until 7:00 mountain time tomorrow night. but across the state, people are continuing to bring in ballots. colorado, very unique. you can request your ballot through the mail and then literally, it's drive-through voting. you can drop off your ballot. so far, 1.7 million votes have been cast here in the state of colorado. we spent the afternoon in nearby jefferson county. which is where the great deal of the focus will be here in the state of colorado as the two suburban counties surrounding denver, jefferson on the west and arapahoe county on the east. these are unique counties because they are divided up equally between republicans, democrats and independent swing voters. in jefferson county where we were today, 219,000 votes have
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already been cast. the republicans have a slight edge in turnout so far. but this is a county that will very likely see 95% voter participation. and we're told by the election administrator there this afternoon that it's very likely that by 7:30 mountain time, 9:30 eastern, we will have a very good idea of who will win these swing counties near denver which many people will be paying very close attention to. >> ed lavandera, thanks very much. let's also check in on paul ryan's home state, wisconsin. it has ten electoral votes. president obama won it easily in 2008. john kerry barely carried the state in 2004. cnn's ted rowlands is joining us now from milwaukee. how does it look right now, ted? >> reporter: well, wolf, republicans here on the ground will tell you that they know they have their backs against the wall. all of the recent polling has the president up. one poll has him up by ag points. but what the romney/ryan folks
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have going for them here in this state is a terrific ground game. the reason is that gubernatorial recall with governor scott walker. it was so emotional. and walker won that, keep in mind, earlier this year. they have everything in place. and they think that will make the difference. i ran into the governor yesterday after he attended a rally up at lambeau field with packer fans. here's what he said republicans need to do to pull this off. you need to make up ground. how do you do it? >> in our case, it's turnout, places like this. victory center is going into our election. a number of polls showed us down in june. we won by almost seven points. it was the enthusiasm based on voters, victory centers like this where tens of thousands of volunteers helped us get our message out. >> reporter: early voting has stopped here, wolf. it ended on friday. all of the push today from both sides, the phone calls, the
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canvassing, was to get their base out starting tomorrow. wolf? >> ted rowlands in milwaukee for us. lots of green pay packers jerseys in wisconsin. no doubt about that. the candidates aren't the only people trying to get in the last word. our special panel has advice for voter as well. and don't forget, we're waiting to hear from the president of the united states. president obama: there's just no quit in america...
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and you're seeing that right now. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the... last thing we should do is turn back now. here's my plan for the next four years: making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting american-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where... we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more.
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and ending the war in afghanistan, so we can... do some nation-building here at home. that's the right path. so read my plan, compare it to governor romney's... and decide which is better for you. it's an honor to be your president... and i'm asking for your vote... so together, we can keep moving america forward. i'm barack obama and i approve this message. he loves risk. but whether he's climbing everest, scuba diving the great barrier reef with sharks,
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or jumping into the market, he goes with people he trusts, which is why he trades with a company that doesn't nickel and dime him with hidden fees. so he can worry about other things, like what the market is doing and being ready, no matter what happens, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense, from td ameritrade. the 2012 presidential race is down to the final hours and the candidates are campaigning nonstop, trying to visit as many swing states as possible. here's a quick snapshot. >> hello, florida! hello, colorado! hello, ohio! when i say wisconsin that i know what real change looks like, you've got cause to believe me
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because you've seen me fight for it. >> i tell you, cleveland really does rock, you know that? that's quite a des moines, iowa, welcome. thank you so much. what a philadelphia welcome. thank you, lynchburg, so much for that virginia welcome. that's why i'm running for president. i know how to change the nation, how to get it back on course, how to create jobs, how to get a balanced budget. >> let's get straight to our chief political analyst gloria borger who has an excellent panel for us. >> i think we do. hearing those candidates, it's like if it's monday, it must be des moines. where am i today? and this is of course the closing arguments. but if you look at our cnn poll which we released last night, you'll see that these candidates seem to be tied, enthusiasm is the same nationally. favorability is the same nationally. so after $6 billion, are we -- >> money well spent.
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>> are we back where we started, ana? >> oh, god, i hope not. i hope not. i can't do this all over again. i hope that we are a lot closer to the end. i think -- first of all, let's begin by saying, good afternoon, "situation room." but it's been a long campaign. it's been a long process. i think it's taken a while to get its groove. we had a very small campaign for a long, long time, dominated by issues like big birds and dogs on cars and dancing horses and all sorts of small, teeny little things. it's taken a while for us to get to bigger issues. for these candidates to really hit the mark. >> we never got to the issues. frankly, campaigns usually are about values because issues divide. values unite. and so if you go out on the campaign trail and you start explaining in detail your tax plan, one by one, you start
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losing people that would support you. you start talking about your environmental plan, one by one you start losing people. so you talk about values. you talk about big picture. you talk about things that touches your heart, you talk about families. they all do. that's how they win. and that's probably how one of them is going to lose this time. >> the secret in a way of this election is that in a sense, the governor's right. in this case in particular, everything is unpopular, right? the president's record. it's unpopular. the stimulus doesn't poll well. the health care bill doesn't poll well. but then on the other side, the big ideas on the republican side don't poll particularly well either. the ryan budget, not particularly popular. >> tax cuts for the rich. >> and so we're in a situation where the country is divided because we're in a grinding, slow economic recovery. everybody's feeling pinched. people don't want to go for sort of big policy changes. and so it's been a kind of -- it's been a grim slog. >> but it's very interesting.
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if you remember four years ago, hope and the level of optimism -- this has not been a hope election on either side. it's been a fear election. the republicans claim to be afraid of the big government agenda from obama. certainly the democrats are afraid of what romney might do, the tea party takeover. i think it feels so long because the -- you're not burning solar. you're not flying. you're burning diesel to get there. i think it's been tough. >> and you could ask, what is the effect of all of the negative advertising -- i would argue at this point, they kind of cancel each other out. people would rather watch bars than these ads. but over the summer, a huge amount of negative advertising which characterized mitt romney as out of touch, et cetera, and you could argue that that set the tone for this campaign. >> what i think is interesting now is i wonder if people haven't tuned all this stuff out, tuned out the pundit, tuned out the ads -- >> what?
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>> think about what you're saying. >> i think they may not even be listening to us. but i think people's pocketbooks may be talking to them now. you have some late improvement in the economy in terms of the housing market. i just can't imagine at this point the people who haven't made up their mind, one more negative ad is going to move it for them. >> if you legitimately for a senate race -- >> 4%, 3%. >> i don't think they're undecided. i think they're not voters. i think they're not really going to vote. >> undecided and uninspired. >> inspire your base. that's what they're doing right now, getting their volunteers to make that last phone call, to get more people to the polls. to mccabe make su to make sure your peeps show up. >> they're talking to the base. >> that's interesting is the last romney gambit isn't exactly that. it's not just fire up the base. it's making a pitch for sort of crossover, blue-collar democrat,
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reagan democrat-type voters. and i'm kind of skeptical that it's going to be successful. but it is sort of an exception to that rule. romney isn't just trying to drive up republican turnout. >> if you're behind in a ball game, you throw the long bomb. that's all that's left. >> let me give you a perspective as somebody from florida, a swing state. the saturation of negative ads and even positive ads have been tremendous. when you start being able to recite these ads by memory, you know you have a problem. when you start seeing one negative ad on one issue that's completely negated with a contradictory ad immediately afterwards -- >> but the one good news in all that is that it's a sign that actually adding an extra $500 million to the process, it doesn't actually buy the election because voters are if not smarter than that, at least weary -- >> in this election, money's not been an issue. i'm not sure that's a good thing. >> if you look at mitt romney's
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favorables, they were under water before the denver debate. so you had a lot of negative advertising. you have the denver debate, suddenly his favorables started going up. what does that tell you? >> the debate mattered. >> or did the campaign begin late? >> no, the parties were coalescing around these candidates. finally the parties have coalesced -- obama had the democrats to begin with. romney didn't have all of them. today he does. 90% of republicans are going to vote for their xaend. >> but they both have approval ratings over 50%. >> that's a huge achievement for romney. >> one dynamic we haven't talked about is this fence in some of the swing states that it's tough to vote, that laws have been passed -- this voter suppression thing. i'm hearing from african-american who say they are prepared to wait until 2:00 in the morning to vote. you called it before. that ballot down in florida is ten pangs long. it is a huge mess.
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but i think you may see a backlash, a more determined african-american electorate. >> that's a huge problem we're having in florida. i have to tell you honestly, it is not voter suppression. the problem is we have this crazy long ballot that's an extraordinary ballot. we've never seen anything like that. >> have you not learned anything? >> we're slow learners. that's why you're seeing the problem in the largest counties in florida because it also has county and municipal -- you're not seeing problems in leon county, for example. not seeing problems in the smaller counties. let's also remember, there's a lot of states that don't even have early voting. when democrats ruled florida and dinosaurs ruled the world -- >> that's why romney's -- >> there was no early voting in florida. and i think voting tomorrow in florida might be a lot easier than early voting because the ballots are going to be preprinted as opposed to being printed on demand, which is what happened in early voting. >> one thing about romney in
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pittsburgh. i was told by somebody in the romney campaign that actually romney does better with democrats in pittsburgh than anywhere else in the country. and they don't early vote. so they're trying to get them out on election day, which is a gambit. it's late. >> and it testifies to the fact that romney has actually, again, only in the last month, made himself an attractive candidate, like the idea that he could be winning blue-collar -- >> that he could run to pennsylvania and come up short -- >> both are true. but we were talking about the divided country, the kind of election we've had, which all of us would say has not risen to the highest heights. what does this say, no matter who wins because we're not going to predict who's going to win. but what does this say about where this leaves us? we head into -- we may end up with the status quo, certainly in the congress --
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>> heading in the fiscal showdown. i think this is going to be important. for the republican congress in particular, the obstruction they've been part of, the filibustering, et cetera, you still have to work with these guys. i hope it brings out the best in the republican party. i'm serious. >> i'm smiling in the spirit of bipartisanship -- >> it takes two to tango. and it takes two not to tango. i hope it brings out the best in the republican party and i hope it brings out the best in the democratic parties. where it leaves us is in a very divided country. it leaves us with need of a leader who makes one of his first priorities the need to unite this country, making that a priority. whomever wins f mitt romney wins, he wins with the least ever percentage of minority vote. if barack obama wins, he wins with the least percentage ever of white vote. you know what? we've got a problem. >> and i think you're right. i think that's the key, what we
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ought to be looking for election night. >> here's the magical part of our system. we have a status quo no matter what because there are so many checks and balances that you can only move the dial about 1% and that's what's going to happen no matter who wins this. >> my children always said to me s that good or bad? >> it's good. >> okay. >> moving it forward or moving it backward. >> like your clocks. back to you, wolf. >> quick question for the panel before i let all of you go, unsolicited advice first from the governor, do you have a specific piece of unsolicited advice at this very late moment for the president of the united states? >> the unsolicited advice for the president of the united states is go home and spend some time with your family. this election is already divi decided. it's baked in. the last-minute stuff we're doing right now is base-building. but remember what's important. and this is not just for the important, that's for the rest of this country, spend more time with your family and hug them.
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>> ana, unsolicited advice for governor romney? >> completely the opposite advice. take your family with you on the road and campaign until the very last minute because what the american voters and the american people want to see if somebody who puts their entire heart and soul in it until the last minute. >> let's listen to the president of the united states right now. he's in columbus, ohio, he's speaking to a crowd there. >> we will help them rebuild and we'll carry on with a spirit that says no matter how bad a storm is, no matter how tough times may get, we're all in this together. we rise or fall as one nation and as one people. [ cheers and applause ] that spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries. it's carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last four years. in 2008, we were in the middle of two years and the worst economic crisis since the great depression.
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today, our businesss have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs. the american auto industry has come roaring back. home values are on the rise. we're less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last 20 years. because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in iraq is over, the war in afghanistan is ending. al qaeda's on the path to defeat. osama bin laden is dead. we've made progress these last four years. we've made real progress, ohio, but the reason why we're here is because we've got more work to do. our work is not yet done. as long as there is a single american who wants a job and can't find one, our work is not yet done. as long as there are families anywhere in ohio, anywhere in the country working harder but
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falling behind, we're not finished. as long as there's a child anywhere in this country who's languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our fight goes on. our fight goes on, ohio, because this nation cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class and roads and paths of opportunity for everybody who's willing to work hard to get into the middle class. our fight goes on because america always does best when everybody gets a fair shot. and everybody does their fair share and everybody plays by the same rules. that's what we believe. that's why you elected me in 2008. and that's why i'm running for a second term for president of the united states. [ cheers and applause ]
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now, ohio, tomorrow you've got a choice to make, although some of you have already made the choice. how many early voted around here? this is not just a choice between two candidates or two parties. it's a choice between two different visions of america. a choice to the return to the top-down economic policies that crashed our economy or a vision that says, we've got to build a strong foundation based on a strong and growing middle class, an opportunity for everybody, not just some. as americans, we honor the strivers and the dreamers and the risk-takers, the businesspeople, the free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world's ever known, that's what we believe in. but we also know that our system, our economy works best
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when everybody's participating, not just some. when everybody has a chance to get a great education, when everybody has a chance to learn the skills they need to compete. our economy does best when we invest in the common enterprise of basic research to create new technologies and new industries and new jobs. we believe america's stronger when everybody can count on affordable health insurance. [ cheers and applause ] when everybody can count on medicare and social security in their golden years. we think our markets work best, our economy works best when there are some rules in place to protect our kids from toxic dumping and pollution, to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous credit card companies or mortgage lenders.
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and we also believe, by the way, there are some things washington should not do, for example, we don't need a bunch of politicians trying to control health care decisions that women are perfectly capable of making themselves. [ cheers and applause ] for four years, we had a president who shared these beliefs. his name was bill clinton. and it's interesting, when he first came into office, his economic plan asked the wealthier americans to play a little more so we could reduce our deficit and invest in the skills and ideas of our people. and at the time, the republican congress and a certain senate candidate by the name of mitt romney -- [ crowd booing ] don't boo, vote. vote.
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you don't need to boo. folks can't hear you boo, but they can hear you vote. anyway, this candidate, mr. romney, along with the republican congress, they all said, bill clinton's playing us terrible. it will hurt the economy. it's going to kill jobs. turns out, their math was just as bad then as it is now because by the end of bill clinton's second term, america has created 23 million new jobs. incomes were up, poverty was down and our deficit had become a surplus. we've tried our ideas and they work. how about the other guy's ideas? we tried those, too. after bill clinton left office, the republicans had a chance to try their ideas out. and we tried giving big tax cuts to the wealthiest americans. we tried giving insurance companies and oil companies and wall street a free license, do whatever you please.
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and we got falling incomes and record deficits and the slowest job growth in half a century and it culminated in the worst financial crisis that we've ever seen in our lifetime. so we've tried our ideas and they work. we've tried their ideas. they don't work. and this means this should be a pretty easy choice. but you have to give them credit. governor romney's a very talented salesman. and, so, in this campaign, he's tried to repackage the old ideas that don't work and offer them up as change. he's tried to pretend that somehow these old ideas that did not work are new and will work this time. but here's the thing, ohio. we know what change looks like. and what he's selling ain't it. giving more power to the biggest banks is not change. another $5 trillion tax cut
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favoring the wealthy, not change. >> so the president continuing his speech on this final day of campaigning at least for him before the election tomorrow. we'll be hearing from governor romney later. he's going to be live. he's speaking at a campaign rally event later in columbus, ohio, himself. we'll have live coverage of that. don't forget, tomorrow he's decided he's going to go to pennsylvania and ohio for one last opportunity to try to score some points in those two key states. other news we're following including some controversial initiatives on the ballot in several states. we're taking a closer look at how those issues could help turn out key voters that the presidential candidates need in this election. what's next?
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also will be deciding on issues ranging from higher taxes to gambling to same-sex marriage. those ballot initiatives could bring out key voters sought by the presidential campaigns. lisa sylvester has a little closer look. what are you seeing over there. >> this is an issue that's come up before. we have seen ballot initiatives have an influence on the presidential case. some notable ones, health care and obama care, it's up in four different states. florida, alabama, montana and wyoming. essentially, it's the same thing. asking whether or not voters want to amend the state constitutions so that individuals and businesses can not be compelled to participate in the health care system. also we've seen it before, it's up again, same-sex on the ballot in four states in maryland, my home state, in maine, in minnesota and washington state. and again they're asking very similar questions. if gay and lesbian couples
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should be allowed to marry. in minnesota, the question is slightly different. the question is whether or not there should be an amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. this is probably the most talked about -- this one is one of the most talked about ballot initiatives. the question is on marijuana legalization. it is up in three states. we are not talking about de-criminalizing marijuana. not talking about marijuana for medicinal uses. we're talking actually about legalizing marijuana in colorado, washington and oregon. that would be for anybody over the age of 21, wolf. >> it's a fascinating situation that's unfolding right now in the swing states. are these ballot initiatives more likely to help governor romney or president obama? >> in colorado, and that's one of the states we're looking at with marijuana legalization. conventional wisdom is that this would draw in younger, more
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progressive voters. and it is very popular in this state. but it is also opposed by independent moms. and that is a group that really could trend either way that could actually help governor romney. another state that i want to point out is florida. we can take a look here because they have a very interesting ballot initiative whether or not public funds should be allowed to be used for abortions with the exception being for rape or in the case of incest or whether the life of a mom is in danger, wolf. >> how likely are these initiatives to pass? >> particularly -- we can go back to the very first one, the health care, obama care, this is in four different primarily conservative states. it's very likely to pass. you can see that other cases, in the case of -- the same-sex marriage on the ballot, there's a very good chance that it could pass in maine. and that could actually be historic because this is a question that has been put to the voters time and time again. it's been rejected by the voters time and time again. but there's a good chance, wolf, that tomorrow we might see that
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actually pass in maine. we will see. and also colorado, that is also sort of up for grabs. w we'll see what happens there. a lot of people are keeping an eye on that because that is such a swing state. >> we'll watch all these tomorrow night. thanks very much. comprehensive report from lisa. coming up, this sounds ominously familiar. we're already hearing reports of voting problems in florida. we'll have a complete report at the top of the hour. ♪
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call now and also ask about our 24/7 support and service. call... and lock in your rate for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? you're in "the situation room." happening now, long lines and legal challenges. it's election eve in america and the lawyers are already very busy. for the presidential candidates, an urgent final round of rallies as they try to
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reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes. we're going to show you how they can get there. and a week after superstorm sandy slammed into the northeast, residents of new york's staten island are focused on food and shelter. will they be able to vote tomorrow? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wb wb. you' i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." election day in america. it's only just hours away and the candidates are going all out in a final surge of campaign rallies. president obama began today in wisconsin, moving on to ohio and makes his final stop tonight in iowa. he will then head home to chicago. mitt romney started out in florida. then he hit virginia. he'll be in ohio in the next
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hour before closing out the day in new hampshire. our correspondents are deployed in all the battleground states. they're spread out across the country to try to bring you the kind of coverage that only cnn can deliver. there are long lines of early voters today in florida. one of the critical battleground states in this election. and there already have been a number of skirmishes over the early balloting. let's go live to cnn's john zarrella in miami who's watching what's going on. i'm hearing lawsuits, john, already have been filed? what's going on in florida again? >> reporter: again. let me set the stage, wolf. early voting in florida was reduced by the legislature from 14 days four years ago down to eight days. that resulted, the democratic party said, in these enormously long lines, four, five, six-hour waits. early voting ended on saturday. the democratic party late saturday night, filing a lawsuit in federal court saying, listen,
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people were deprived of a meaningful opportunity to cast votes in miami, dade, broward and palm beach counties. those three counties today have opened all three of them for people to come and pick up absentee ballots. the line you see behind me here are for people who have been waiting here for four and five hours to pick up absentee ballots that they can then fill out and get in another line on the other side, if they so choose and then return that absentee ballot. as long as it's in by 7:00 tomorrow night, they're fine. take a look down here. another 200 yards the line stretches back in that direction down the side of the building. and it is now after 5:00. so the office is closed here now. so no one else is supposed to be able to get into the line to pick up absentee ballots. that's what's going on here. one of the problems, wolf, it's
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taking so many people and they're afraid will happen tomorrow, look at the length of this ballot. it is the longest ballot in state history. there are 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot in florida, along with every other race. so they're afraid that there will be long lines tomorrow. if people haven't studied the ballot, people that are just trying to figure out how to go on all these constitutional amendments. we could still have a mess tomorrow during regular voting hours. >> looks like the battle in florida is going to come down to the last vote. a lot of us remember, 537 votes out of millions cast in 2000. that was the difference. >> reporter: yeah, exactly. and it is very, very close. the latest polls, mitt romney, 50%. president obama, 49%. the president's wife was here in orlando today stumping. mitt romney started in sanford, florida, this morning stumping
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and sanford is up in that i-4 corridor. there is a last-minute, full-court press to try and get as many of their voters out as they possibly can tomorrow because it is likely to be very, very close. >> every vote will certainly count. thanks very much, john zarrella. the campaigns have mobilized armies of lawyers already to keep an eye on the polling places and to try to take legal action wherever they see fit. let's bring in our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, the early voting legal battles that we're seeing right now, could that foreshadow a bigger problem? >> it sure could because the real legal fights, as in florida in 2000, generally take place after the polls have closed. and two things to keep in mind about those battles, if they happen. one is the candidate who's ahead on election night almost always wins. going in with a lead, no matter
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how small, as george w. bush did in florida -- >> why is that? >> because there is a psychological component, the court system, the politicians, if you're ahead, it is hard to get it changed. not impossible but being ahead matters. the second point is, the party that controls the political process in the state matters a great deal. everybody may remember catherine harris, the republican secretary of state in florida in 2000. florida and ohio are both run by republicans now. if it comes to a fight in those two states, which are probably the most likely states, the republicans will have a huge advantage because they control the state government in those places. >> in ohio, for example, if they have these provisional ballots, if it's really close and there's 100,000, let's say, provisional ballots, they don't even start looking at those ballots until november 17th. >> we're probably going to talk a lot about provisional ballots over the next few days. let's define it. a provisional ballot is cast when a voter shows up at the polling place and there's some
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problem, their id isn't effective, their name isn't on the list. so they say, okay, we're going to let you cast a ballot provisionally and we're going to put it aside. in ohio, four years ago, there were 262,000 provisional ballots. we're expecting even more of that. that's a huge difference -- that could decide the outcome. as you point out, they're not even going to start counting those for ten days. so if there's a small difference between the candidates and there are 200,000, 300,000 ballots that haven't yet been counted, we may not know who won ohio tomorrow. >> and if we don't, we might not know who's got 270 electoral votes. this could go on and on. let me ask you this question. it reminds me of what happened in 2000. is it at all possible n your expert opinion, we might see another case where david boyes shows up before the united states supreme court to
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adjudicate this election. >> if this election goes to recoun recounts, it is a certainty we'll be in supreme court. if we get into recount territory, i would bet it's a certainty that something will be appealed to the supreme court, whether they actually take the case and we hear arguments again, i don't know. but if we go to court, nobody's going to give up before the supreme court. >> in 2000, 33 days trying to determine who was going to be president after those leakes, the hanging chads -- >> florida has better voting machines this time. >> hard to believe this kind of stuff goes on. let's go out on the campaign trail right now before heading home to chicago for election day, president obama's last stop will be in des moines, iowa. six electoral votes are at stake. cnn's poppy harlow is joining us now from des moines.
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the president is bringing in some star power there as well. >> reporter: he certainly is, he's bringing the boss, bruce springsteen, who's been on the road with the president today. this will be the final stop. the first lady also coming with the president. this is very symbolic. president obama is ending this campaign where he kicked off his first. the stage he will be on tonight with bruce springsteen, directly in front, the obama campaign tells me, of the headquarters for the obama campaign during those 2008 iowa caucuses which catapulted his campaign when he won there. that's huge. of course i asked the campaign, how are you feeling about iowa? they said what else, wolf? we're feeling great. when asked about the new cnn poll of polls today out on iowa which gives the president just a three-point lead here, they told me, we'll take it. wolf? >> the republicans aren't giving up in iowa either, are they? >> reporter: no. just look behind me. we are at a paul ryan rally.
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they're gearing up for him to come here in the next half hour. they are certainly not giving up. a number of them i talked to in the crowd have already voted early here. this is going to be the final stop for paul ryan on this campaign here in iowa, showing you just how important these six electoral votes are. but what's interesting, you talk about a state like iowa where the economic numbers actually tell a pretty good story for the president relatively speaking, compared to other states. so i caught up this morning with iowa's republican governor, terry brandstead, and asked him, look, what do you do when you've got a state that economically is doing pretty well? it's harder for romney to make his case here. here's what he said. does the president deserve any credit for the iowa economy being better than most right now? >> well, in fact, the economy in iowa was in a financial mess. we cut spending, we cut taxes and we grew the economy. we deserve credit. just like people that run their own businesses deserve credit. not the government. >> reporter: not the president? >> the president doesn't deserve
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credit for what people do to build their own business. >> reporter: you can guess who he cast his vote for, big romney supporter. early voting critical, 40% of the people who vote her vote early. democrats have about a 65,000-vote lead on that right now. traditionally, they're better at getting out the early vote. republicans, though, the ground game here, much stronger than it was in 2008 for mccain. wolf? >> iowa's an important state as well. thank you. cnn will cover election night in america like no one else can. join me and our own anderson cooper, our entire cnn team, starting tomorrow. 6:00 p.m. eastern for special election night in america, live coverage. as democrats fight to hold on to the white house, i'll talk about their chances with the son of the vice president, delaware's attorney general, beau biden, standing by to join us lye. and the race to 270 electoral votes, on the eve of the election, what do we know about each candidate's chances? [ male announcer ] with 160 more miles per tank,
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how much change will this election really bring? jack cafferty is following us. he joins us with the "the cafferty file." >> when we get up wednesday morning or when this thing is finally decided, it may not matter all that much where barack obama or mitt romney is the next president and here's why. it's expected the congress will remain divided in the next session with democrats in control of the senate and republicans in charge of the house of representatives. and we all know how productive our federal government has been the last few years with a divided congress. critical issues have been ignored including our soaring national deficits, a $16 trillion national debt and the looming fiscal cliff. our lawmakers do really nothing about the important issues and instead focus most of their time on things like symbolic votes, meaningless hearings and calling each other names. it's all very grown-up.
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and it's highly likely we can expect more of the same for the next two years. experts are calling 2012 a status quo election, with most incumbents expected to win new terms. that's really a shame. what have they done to deserve another term? in the house, republicans now hold a majority 242-193. democrats aren't going to win nearly enough seats to take control of the house. over in the senate, some democrats say the worst case scenario there is they'll maintain their current 53-47 margin. but if americans are frustrated with the dysfunction that they'll likely see under obama or romney come january, we really have no one to blame but ourselves for the reelecting of the same people over and over again. here's the question this hour -- how much does it matter who the president is if congress remains divided? go to and post a comment on our blog. or post on "the situation
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room's" facebook page. we have less than 24 hours to go. president obama's been hitting the air waves outlining what he considers to be some of the biggest accomplishments of his presidency. watch this little clip. >> over 5 million new jobs, exports up 41%, home values rising. our auto industry, back. and our heroes are coming home. >> one major issue, though, missing from that ad is sort of closing argument ad, his significant health care reform legislation, what's called obama care. joining us now to talk about what's going on, the delaware attorney general, beau biden, the son of the vice president, joe biden. every time i hear that ad, i hear it on tv all the time, i keep saying to myself, why isn't the president proud of the fact that he got health care reform passed? he doesn't mention that in that closing argument ad at all. >> well, i was watching it last night. and i think it was on your show
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that the clip you played of the president's speech yesterday. he was featuring the fact of being proud of having passed obama care and the affordable health care act. it's something he's proud of and i think you heard him speak about it in his rally yesterday in virginia. i'm losing track of where everybody was. but fairly confident i saw him talk directly to it -- about it on cnn last night. >> you're right. he does speak about it in all of his stump speeches. but he didn't mention it in that one ad which sort of tried to summarize what he thinks are his major accomplishments and then what he wants to do in the next four years. i'm sort of surprised by that. that was just me. but i wonder if you're not surprised that he doesn't tout that in that one critically important ad. >> no, no, i'm not. there's a lot to be proud of. and i'm glad, in fact, in that ad that he features the fact that he's brought the troops home from iraq and wants to begin to do some nation-building here at home and build infrastructure and build roads
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and put the savings from these wars, afghanistan being -- will be the longest war this nation's fought. there's a lot to be proud of and there's only so many seconds in a 30-second or 60-second ad. but you hear the president and all his surrogates, the vice president, my father, talk about a whole range of issues that have made life better for this nation and put us on the course to take this country forward, building it from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down like governor romney would take us. >> i've known your dad for a long time. he worked closely with a lot of republicans when he was in the senate. worked with republican senator chuck hagel from nebraska. how frustrating has it been for him over these past four years, that there's been very little bipartisan cooperation on capitol hill? >> it's been frustrating for a lot of democrats, for my father and others. not only did he work with chuck hagel who's a close friend but
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with jesse helms of north carolina, who's one of the most conservative senators of his generation. and they got things done like the chemical test treaty. he worked with the judiciary committee to pass the crime bill. this is a congress that has -- >> why couldn't they do that over the past four years -- recreate that kind of cooperation? >> because you had 83 or 89 tea party republicans who went to the united states congress saying that not only would they not compromise but they wouldn't talk to democrats. my way or the highway. strom thurman who ran in 1948 never took that tact in the '80s and '90s and through the latter half of his career. jesse helms who went to the united states senate the same year my father did, very different fundamental philosophies. they knew to do the business of
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the american people, they needed to establish a relationship and get work done. and sometimes make compromises. but i think that's going to change things. not only is the president going to win, but the tea party darlings are not going to win. you're going to see claire m mccaskill win against todd akin. i think it's going to send a strong signal to the moderate and even conservative republicans of the united states senate senate that they can't operate the way the tea party has insisted that they operate. i think you'll see as my father said last night, you're going to see the fever break, i hope. >> let's talk about pennsylvania for a moment. your dad was born in scranton, pennsylvania. the latest mullenberg poll,
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three-point edge for the president. how worried are you that pennsylvania, being a pretty blue state could be at play? >> we're confident we'll win the commonwealth of pennsylvania, not taking anything for granted. i've been in and out of pennsylvania. my mother was in pennsylvania earlier this week -- or this weekend. but we feel confident in pennsylvania. not something we're taking for granted. that's why we've had field offices in pennsylvania for not just months but for years. governor romney hasn't even plan playing there in any way, shape or form. we have offices all over the commonwealth of pennsylvania. we've worked night and day to earn the votes of the citizens of pennsylvania. and i think it's going to pay off in the end. i'm confident the president is going to win pennsylvania. >> beau biden, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. hundreds of thousands still without power. what will it mean for voters tomorrow? we're going live to part of the
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destruction from superstorm sandy. we're going to try to get answers. in pieces all over the . the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
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one week since superstorm sandy pummeled much of the northeast. the death toll has now soared to at least 110 people here in the united states. almost 50 in new york state. the national guard is hard at work there where temperatures are plummeting right now. hundreds of thousands still have no power or have lost their homes. governor andrew cuomo warns the state is facing in his words, a massive housing problem. cnn's national correspondent degenerati deborah feyerick is in the middle of it all on staten island.
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the marines had to send in reinforcements to help. what's going on? >> reporter: they sent in about two dozen over the weekend but they sent in 50 more. we're in a distribution center. they're handing out some food. over here, folks taking what's available to them. on this side over here, they have blankets, they have coats. all of these people in desperate need of these kinds of things. what they're also in desperate need of and what arrived today here, cleaning supplies because a lot of them have not had the right cleaning supplies to take care of their home. the marines arrived with axes, chain saws, water pumps, all of this with the sole purpose of helping these people dig out of their homes. we walked in several of the homes, they're complete gutted right down to the studs because the salt water dissolved the entire first floor. wood flooring is ripped up. you see walls that have been destroyed. carpeting, couches, all
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different things that are simply in massive piles on the street. we spoke to captain flanagan. here's what he had to say. >> it's been an amazing amount of damage. i've seen homes burned down to the foundation, homes knocked off the foundation. i can't believe a storm could bring this much damage to an area right this. >> reporter: and they arrived in these massive helicopters called sea stallions. and you could just see the gravity of the situation here in staten island. we spoke to a number of people who said, what's your priority? are you focused on the election? and we were actually quite surprised because there were a couple of people who said, yes, they definitely want to vote. others are still really almost shellshocked. they still can't get over the entire devastation that's hit. you could hear the tension and the emotion in one poor woman's voet voice. she said she's been 32 years of her life here in her home and 32 years of her life were sitting
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basically on the front lawn basically ready to be discarded, huge boats had washed up on shore from the harbor and they were so tall, they're actually touching the wires from electrical poles. what we are seeing is a lot of sanitation workers picking up the debris. so bit by bit, with volunteers that are helping get those people fed, it's coming together. wolf? >> let's hope it does and hope it does quickly. deborah feyerick on staten island. thank you. meanwhile, last-minute travel changes on the campaign trail. will it work? our "strategy session" is next.
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let's get right to our
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"strategy session." joining us are two cnn political contributors. the democratic strategist, hilary rosen, and ari fleischer. travel for the two candidates, the president of the united states going to wisconsin, to ohio. you see he'll wrap it up in iowa before he spends the night in his home state of chicago, illinois. romney started florida, virginia, ohio. he's wrapping it up in new hampshire. but tomorrow, they announced he's going to pennsylvania and ohio again on election day. do these last-minute trips make a difference? >> first of all, that reminds me a lot of air force one. i miss that plane. it does make a difference. this is where you go for your close. the race is down to enthusiasm and turnout, you don't leave any stone unturned. and they're predictable states. there's really no surprises there. >> might not help but can't hurt, right? >> can't hurt. this fantasy about pennsylvania,
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we could talk about it all day. but with almost a 1 million voter registration difference in favor of democrat, i think pennsylvania is still a fantasy for romney. >> why did the president send bill clinton there today to campaign in pennsylvania? >> because you want to make sure that everybody in pennsylvania knows that you love them and that their vote matters. but that's different than whether you think they're actually going to vote for the other guy. this firewall has been very consistent of ohio, wisconsin and iowa and nevada, this kind of firewall that the obama campaign has been looking at. and it's been so consistent actually for the last three or four months of a significant enough obama campaign lead that they feel confident that those are the states that are going to -- >> this is the firewall of wisconsin, iowa and ohio -- >> and i'd add nevada to that. >> take a look at the polls. the problem remains as it has for a couple of months now.
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almost all those polls still oversample democrats. it's a prediction that looks like the turnout model will be just under 2008. this is the core issue of this election. are these polls going to be correct. >> reporter: is there really something going on where the pollsters are not counting republicans and in many of these places, but particularly in the midwest, mitt romney keeps winning independents. i think tomorrow the few surprise stories are going to be the shift of independents toward mitt romney and seniors. keep your eye on seniors. john mccain beat barack obama by eight points among seniors and mitt romney is leading by double digits among seniors in many of these places. big issues. if democrats don't get the turnout, that drives the race. >> he is leading seniors. but i think that women in particular, we're seeing married women shift. unmarried women, very vostrong r president obama. we're seeing married women shift in places like iowa and wisconsin, big gender gaps there. i think that's going to end up
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pulling the president. >> you think pennsylvania is just wishful thinking for romney? >> no, i think it was a smart move. he had everything he could get out of ohio and wisconsin. they're going to go the way they're going to go and their both toss-ups. but pennsylvania is a reasonable stretch. it's the second oldest state in the union. only florida has more seniors and with a double-digit lead there, it's very helpful. if the democrat enthusiasm is down, if he doesn't get the record turnout that he got in 2008 outside philadelphia, which i think is a legitimate issue, it puts it in play. >> again, the volatility in this race has been on the romney side. where we saw romney sinking low, moving up after the debate, getting some momentum, seems to have stopped after the second debate, people said it was after the hurricane. but it really wasn't. it stopped by the time of the last debate. but the president's strong numbers have really been fairly steady in these states. that's not going to change. that's why i think he's going to eke it out tomorrow in several
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of these states that people are not expectling. >> he's still under 50% in many of these states. you can also find the poll that you want to find. the fact of the matter is, we'll all know tomorrow. >> 24 hours from now, the real results will start coming in. and then we'll get some projections. we'll see what happens. thanks very much. the balance of power in washington may lie with the u.s. senate as well. can democrats keep control? stand by. how did i get here? dumb luck? or good decisions? ones i've made. ones we've all made. about marriage. children. money. about tomorrow. here's to good decisions. who matters most to you says the most about you. massmutual is owned by our policyholders
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balance of power may lie with the senate. both parties hold vulnerable seats. cnn's senior congressional correspondent dana bash is joining us now with more. dana, what does it look like? >> this is what it looks like currently. the united states senate, you have 47 republicans. you have 51 democrats, two independents. that 47 is the key one to keep in mind because it means that republicans need a net gain of four seats. let's look at what's at stake tomorrow. all of these seats, 33, they're all represented in white here, it's a third of the senate which is typical. that's what happens every two years. but the reality is not all of these are competitive. not even close. we'll turn over those that we think are going to go either democrat or republican. but that still leaves a lot of competitive seats in here, nearly a dozen that we're going to be watching tomorrow night. >> let's take a look at some of the races you find most interesting, dana, where democrats appear to be defending their position. >> i think the most interesting at this point is the state of virginia, which of course we've
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been watching because it's local. you have tim kaine, the former governor, fighting to keep the seat in democratic hands. and then you have george allen who was defeated from this seat six years ago. he is fighting very hard to get back. this is the most expensive senate race so far this year, $82 million neck and neck. and the other one that i'm going to be watching very closely tomorrow night is the state of montana. there we go. tester, john tester, the incumbent democratic senator, he of course is sitting there in a very, very red state, from the very beginning when he was elected, he knew he would have to defend this in a robust way. and he has. he's running against danny rehberg. this is a state where you've seen about $50 million spent. it hasn't moved the dial at all. they're at a 1% differential right now. >> thanks, dana, very much. later you'll tell us where the republicans are playing defense as well.
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what happens tomorrow will likely come down to critical battleground states. up next, live to ohio and then virginia. dad vo: ok, time for bed, kiddo. lights out. ♪ (sirens) (train horn)
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this just coming in to "the situation room." there you see him, the new york governor, andrew cuomo. taking special action right now to make it easier for people displaced in new york state by the superstorm sandy to vote. our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin, has learned all the details. what is he announcing? >> well, new york voters who are in the disaster area, the five boroughs and the suburbs who have been affected by so much, they can vote in any polling place in any part of the state for president and for senator. they can't vote in local races
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except where they live. but what he's doing is using his power as governor -- and, remember, states, not the federal government, run our elections. he's saying in new york state, if you are in that disaster area, you can vote in any polling place for senator or for president. >> what about house of representatives? >> you can't unless you're in that district. >> you have to be in your congressional district to vote for your member of the house. but you can vote anyplace for the senate? >> statewide races. >> what about the ballot initiatives, any of that stuff, the referendum -- >> actually, i didn't see that in the announcement. and i'm trying to remember. i don't think there are any ballot initiatives this year in new york state. that wasn't in the part of the announcement that i saw. what he was referring to specifically was senator and president. >> you're a resident of new york state. >> i am. but my absentee ballot got stuck in sandy and i've not been able to vote. >> how is that possible? >> the storm, the mail was late. >> you're not going to be back
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in new york state -- >> no, i'm working here. it's going to have to go on without me. >> thanks very much, jeffrey. our correspondents are deployed in all the key battleground states. gary tuchman is in virginia. don lemon is in ohio. its 18 electoral votes could be critical as all of us know. don, set the scene for us. >> reporter: look, wolf, 2:00 this polling place closed. and it's almost 6:00 eastern time. the last person went in just a short time ago, a handful of people in here voting. long lines here. this is hamilton county in cincinnati. long lines here, long lines in montgomery county, long lines in franklin county. we saw that for early voting but early voting officially closed. they think they got close to the 2008 numbers for early voting but they don't they they're going to reach or surpass them. they had great turnout here, though. this pesky provisional ballot could also offer a problem here in ohio. just to tell you what the
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provisional ballot is, a voter who requested an absentee ballot by mail, if they don't return that ballot and then they go in to the polling place to vote early or vote on election day, then they're going to have to file a provisional ballot. 200,000 provisional ballots were issued here or were submitted here in 2008. almost 40,000 of them were tossed out. and now there's concern that more could be tossed out because of a directive just issued by the secretary of state saying that now for this information, the social security number, any identification, the voter is responsible for that information and not the poll worker. and so a voters rights group has now filed a lawsuit saying, you know what, that can cause potentially more of these to be tossed out. it's supposed to be worked out in court on wednesday. but if it really comes down to that, this could be the deciding factor. and we won't know who the president of the united states is until ten days after the election because that's when these can be counted. >> can you imagine. don, thank you.
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let's go to richmond, virginia. gary tuchman on the scene there. another critical battleground state. gary?well, wolf, unless joe biden runs for president of the united states or another office some day, tonight will be the last time in his career he campaigns for himself. he's been doing it for 42 years since he ran for county commission in 1970. tonight behind me about 15 minutes from now he'll be making the final argument of why barack obama and he deserve another term in the white house. virginia, a crucial state. in 2008, it was the first time the democrats were on the presidential election here in the state. for 44 years, the last time, 1964, lbj won and crucial, very crucial for mitt romney to win here. it will bode very well, though, if barack obama wins virginia for the second time in a row. five minutes from now rocker john mellencamp singing. if the practice session is any indication, singing "small town"
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and appropriate because democrats need them in virginia to win the state. they know they'll do well in the big cities. wolf? >> virginia close. we'll watch it together with you, gary. thank you. so who would be to blame if mitt romney loses? we'll have that coming up in our next hour. [ male announcer ] when this hotel added aflac
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last-minute maneuvering by the candidates certainly aimed at reaching the magic number in the electoral college votes meaning victory for one of them. our chief national correspondent john king is taking a closer look at how they get to the magic number of 270. >> little after this time tomorrow night starting to fill this in with real results. now basing it on projections of the campaigns. what we learn from the reporting.
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if you see the gold states, they're toss-up states. true battleground states and might add pennsylvania for mitt romney. wolf, we head in to the election. 237, strong or leaning the president's way. 206, strong or leaning governor romney's way. just got off the call with senior obama campaign officials and confident about this. they think nevada is in their fold. next they say they're most confident about this. the romney campaign would dispute this. let me for the hypothetical to give it to them and very confident about wisconsin. let's give them that. that gets the president to 259. asking them, when's next on the list of confidence, they say ohio. if the president does that, over the top. game over. take it back just for the sake of argument. if you, and many republicans don't dispute this. inside the campaign they say we'll win wisconsin and iowa. the lady no vote, probably the key for president on nevada. assume the president get it is three. democrats say they're in play in
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florida but some democrats in the state say they would not be surprised if romney took this one. officials say we'll win virginia again but democrats in the state say they would not be shocked if governor romney took that one. then 259-248. come out here. the obama campaign says their coalition intact from 2008. the romney campaign said they'll have a swarm. let's for the sake of argument do this. the obama campaign would object. other democrats say they wouldn't be shocked if romney wins colorado and over here with ohio and highly new hampshire. tiny new hampshire. in this scenario, they both need ohio. and in this scenario. when you get them at 259-257. they both need this one. governor romney gets it, over the top with just that. if the president gets it, over the top with ohio. again, if this one swings, the map is more complicated. this is why they spent so much time here in the end. some of this could change.
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if this is roughly how it played out tomorrow night, the winner of ohio, get it is white house. >> and romney's going to pennsylvania tomorrow. bill clinton was campaigning for obama in pennsylvania. we have it light blue, leaning obama right now. what if there's a shock and pennsylvania were to go for the republicans? >> the polls did narrow in the final weeks and the romney campaign looks at that, george w. bush looks at that. among the most reliable blue dna in presidential elections. my gut says unlikely. why is he going there? in part because of the worry it turns blue. if that's blue and ohio for the president, even if governor romney does well in colorado and florida and north carolina, virginia, the president wins re-election until governor romney takes that one away. if he takes pennsylvania away, he knocks the president below and if somehow wins pennsylvania, then he's the next president of the united states. it's unlikely given the state's presidential history. voted democratic forever in presidential politics. however, the romney campaign says the polls softened a little
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bit. it's an insurance plan and on the final day governor romney in pennsylvania, in philadelphia area, the other day, on the final day in pits burr. campaigns in pittsburgh, you are on television in eastern ohio. >> good point. john, it's going to be busy with all of us tomorrow night and beyond. i suspect. let's go to jack right now. he's got the cafferty file. jack? >> wolf, the question this hour, how much does it matter who the president is if the congress remains divided? and it will likely remain so. bob in florida writes, makes a world of difference. the business community and job creators have seen the threat of higher taxes and more regulation go unchallenged by the press for the last four years. a romney win would at least tell the business community there's no reason to be shy about expansion and growth and that it's safe to begin hiring again. lucy writes, won't matter a bit. neither can make a change without congress and neither candidate makes any changes right away anyway. i still think the american public is looking for instant
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gratification and it ain't going to happen. peg in new york, it matters to me from a social agenda perspective. no way to support anyone that doesn't support women's rights. emmett, alabama, jack, it matters a lot where national security is concerned. do you remember what happened in iran when carter was president? also, what about the fiascos in mexico and benghazi on obama's watch? only in a perfect world afford another democrat in the white house. ruth in indianapolis says, if the house remains republican, and the senate remains in need of 60 votes to pass anything, then we'll still be in gridlock. and if god help us romney wins and the house is republicans then we have a disaster. and rich in texas writes this, the president sets the agenda but congress holds the purse strings. the president can do very little without the support of congress. that being said, if you gave the whole desert to the wasteful congress in the year's time there's no sand left. you want to read more about this, find it on the blog.
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or through the post on the facebook page of "the situation room." wolf? >> jack, thank you. happening now, the race for the white house down to the wire. a final day of whirlwind campaigning for president obama. mitt romney announcing a campaign surprise. two more stops on election day in two critical states. and it's all coming down to the battleground states. we are live in ohio. we're live in colorado, nevada and new hampshire. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." countdown to election day in america. only 24 hours from now, the first polls close. and on the eve of the vote, the candidates are campaigning nonstop. they're focusing in on the
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bottle ground states. president obama started on the campaign trail in wisconsin. moved on to ohio where we heard him speaking earlier. tonight, holding a rally in des moines, iowa. mitt romney's last day on the trail began in florida and then virginia and ohio and expect to hear from him live this hour. wrapping up the day in new hampshire. and our correspondents are covering their every move. we're in all of the battleground states bringing you campaign coverage as only cnn can. ohio is certainly a crucial battleground state. as i said, mitt romney will be speaking in columbus shortly. we'll have live coverage. 18 electoral votes are up for grabs in ohio. president obama took them in 2008 but george w. bush took them in 2004. and they're especially critical to romney right now. remember, no republican has ever won the white house without winning ohio. earlier today, romney was in virginia. our national political correspondent jim acosta is traveling with the romney
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campaign. jim? >> reporter: mitt romney is wrapping up the final stop in virginia. the tom campaign officials are predicting a clear and decisive victory tomorrow night but just in case, pulling out the stops including campaigning on election day to reach what they're calling the last few undecideds. after his long five-year run for the presidency, mitt romney is sprinting to a finish line that's finally in sight. contest the gop nominee says is between two competing visions. a brighter future. tomorrow, we begin a new tomorrow. tomorrow we begin a better tomorrow. >> reporter: or more storm clouds on the whorizon he warns if the president wins a second term. >> that same path means $20 trillion in debt. it means continuing crippling unemployment. it means depressed home values. stagnant takehome pay and a devastated military.
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unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession, as well. >> reporter: the campaign made stops in florida, virginia, ohio and new hampshire are critical. while they carry a combined total of 62 electoral votes any one of them can make or break the chances. >> i'm looking around to see if we have the beatles here or something to bring you but looks like you came for the campaign and i appreciate it. >> reporter: back in ohio and in pennsylvania, a state romney suddenly sees moving his way. but complicating the message, the final targeted states feature unemployment rates that plummeted in recent months. florida's governor scott says that's no thanks to the president. >> the biggest drop in unemployment in the country is in our great state of florida. and you know what? government didn't do it. you did it. >> what we see now is an administration and a presidency
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littered with broken promises. >> reporter: romney's running mate paul ryan largely stayed out of the spotlight in the final days of the campaign started to ratchet up the rhetoric. on a conference call with religious conservatives, ryan warned the president is leading the nation down a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values that made us a great and exceptional nation. a campaign spokesman said ryan was talking about religious liberty and obama care, topics he's mentioned frequently during the campaign. and there's no rest for the campaign. mitt romney will wrap up his night tonight where his campaign began in new hampshire. at an event where kid rock will be performing and then in the morning with his wife ann and goes to vote near the home in massachusetts and then off to those election day stops in ohio and pennsylvania. i talked to a senior romney adviser about the stop. not big rallies or at all. he's thanking the supporters and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to get him elected. wolf? >> jim acosta, thank you.
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president obama hitting three come pain states today. kate baldwin is here following this part of the story. kate? >> hey there, wolf. of course, the president's next stop iowa and a rally tonight in des moines. the state with six electoral votes. george w. bush won them in 2004. cnn chief white house correspondent jessica yellin on the ground there for us. jessica, so what is the closing argument there in des moines, jess? >> reporter: hey, hi, kate. well, the president as you say has been across the nation today in des moines he will be here late tonight. he's holding the last and final rally of his campaign here but he began the day in wisconsin, a blue state that democrats say that they're confident they'll hold. that's what they say and taking nothing for granted. they said they learned from al gore in the year 2000 that they just can't risk anything. so they're fighting for that. and then he went on to columbus, ohio, for a rally with jay-z and
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bruce springsteen and the president's message is that he'll fight for the middle class and he has not lost his passion for that one word, change. listen to this. >> we've come too far to let our hearts grow faint. now's the time to keep pushing forward. to educate all our kids to train all of our workers to create new jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, bring our troops home, care for the veterans, broaden opportunity, restore our democracy, build the middle class, make sure that in this country no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter how you got started here in america you can make it if you try. that's why i'm asking for your vote. if you're willing to work with me again. knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls and turn out. we'll win ohio. we'll win this election.
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we'll finish what we started. >> reporter: and he's got one more to go, kate. you can hear he's losing his voice there. he'll be here in iowa with mrs. obama. iowa, the state where as the campaign it all started with that upset victory against hillary clinton in january of 2008, kate. >> voice may be tired but seems he's got a second wind there in the final push. so what's on the plan for him tomorrow, jessica? >> reporter: so after this rally here, he will fly to chicago tonight and he'll be spending the day in chicago. i wouldn't be surprised if folks around the country hear him on the radio in various markets, probably telling people to go out and vote an, you know, they have a campaign ritual. he did this every single primary in 2008 and played basketball with a group encolluding reggie love, his body man and back on the old team. i guess the band has reunited for one last hoorah and playing
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ball tomorrow and closing out the ritual for one last campaign, kate. >> and watching the polls close and numbers come in. jessica yellin in iowa for us, thanks so much. sticking close with you. a very important programming note. this is where you want to be tomorrow night at this very time. cnn's special live coverage of election night in america begins at 6:00 eastern, 3:00 pacific. you know, i'm not going to miss it. >> tonight's speech in des moines is going to be his last campaign speech for himself ever. >> right, why. >> unless he surprises us tomorrow and does something. romney is in pennsylvania. >> but it is capping off a very long career for him here. >> history unfolding. >> history unfolding. we like to be a witness to it. >> yes, we do. can mitt romney win the white house without winning ohio? a top surrogate says the answer is, yes. i'll talk with the campaign about that. senator rob portman of ohio. he's my guest.
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we'rwith questions fromtump sombing elections.kies do you know where your polling place is? maybe somewhere around my house. mine's just, right over that way. well you can find out exactly where it is using bing elections. it's a good day for politics. which way do you lean politically? conservative. republican. well, using the bing news selector you can find news from whichever way you lean. (together) social on this side, financial. which party is currently predicted to win a majority in the senate? the republicans? would you make a bet on that? no. are you chicken?
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earlier we heard from the president of the united states in columbus, ohio. now we are ready to hear of mitt romney in columbus, ohio. live coverage. stand by that. all eyes clearly on ohio right now and crucial 18 electoral votes. on election eve, we are seeing a slight lead for president obama there. there's one factor, though, that may be helping the president's hand. and republican senator rob portman of ohio joining us right now. snofr portman, thanks very much for coming in. >> wolf, great to be on with you again. >> let's talk about your beautiful state of ohio right now. the average, the cnn poll of polls, the final one we have done. likely voters' choice for president in ohio, right now, obama 50%, romney, 47%. very, very tight right now. the president's slightly ahead. if the president wins ohio, will it be because he helped bail out the auto industry and so many jobs in ohio are connected to the car industry?
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>> well, i think it's because he won last week and ohio is a purple state. not red and not blue and, look, i think the race is very close. within the margin of error on the cnn poll you talked about. other polls have it at a dead heat. i believe that's where we are and i think the energy and enthusiasm, wolf, is on our side this year. i did not feel that in 2008. i think it's even more than 2004. more like 2000. and that at the end of the day as you know makes a huge difference in terms of your turnout. >> i was surprised in the recent ad that the romney campaign put out talking about the car problems moving jeep jobs supposedly from ohio to china. if you will. why did you bring that up? because politically, this seems like it was a no-win situation given the fact that president has scored a lot of points by what he did to save chrysler and gm. >> well, i thought it was an important ad to run, not so much because of that part but for the
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last six months the democrats running an ad in ohio just not accurate saying it was mitt romney that wanted to take the companies through bankruptcy, not providing federal help for these workers and for the auto industry and as you know this came out in the second debate. the fact finders found that mitt romney did have a plan. i supported the rescue effort. i thought we needed to do something but the fact is that both of them had plans and it was barack obama who took the companies through bankruptcy. general motors and chrysler. that's an important point that people needed to know because, frankly, the campaign was not responding to those inaccurate attack ads by the obama administration. second, i think it's really important to make the point that going forward it's mitt romney's plan for tax reform, regulatory relief, lower health care costs, energy costs, fair trade and retraining that the companies are looking for. if you're in the auto business, if you're an autoworker, you have to look at mitt romney's plans because they're going to ensure a strong auto industry
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here in the state of ohio. >> i guess the only point to make is on this issue, probably vulnerable. i would have assumed romney wants to talk about issues where the president might be more vulnerable. that's a tactical issue we don't have to discuss right now. >> i think we needed to respond to the inaccuracies and important and in terms of what fiat does in china, talk to them directly. i think they're planning on starting production there and export the jeeps now from the united states and so look. i think it's great making investments in ohio and they have and i hope they'll continue to. but it's also true that if they start production in china, which they indicated they're going to start doing that we'll have fewer exports. doesn't mean that we'll have fewer jobs here. hopefully it will improve hopefully under mitt romney. >> can he win the presidency, mitt romney, without ohio? >> well, as i told candy the other day, probably. but i wouldn't want to risk it.
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no republican has ever and ohio's a key state to win. there are ways to put it together i suppose with the new expanding the map possibilities. pennsylvania's one. michigan is one based on one poll. but ohio's pretty darn important. typically the road to the white house. >> michigan would be a really, really long shot. but why is he going to pennsylvania tomorrow? does he believe pennsylvania's in play? >> yeah. i think there's some good polls there, wolf. you know, western pennsylvania's a lot like the eastern part of ohio. it is an area dependent on natural gas and coal. these are energy tarts of the country. folks that live there, republican, democrat or independent, like what mitt romney's talking about so we see in our polls overperforming in the eastern part of ohio and same thing in western pennsylvania and i believe that the polls are close now in pennsylvania and something that the romney campaign believes in planning another visit there. >> one final question. joe biden said this in virginia today and i'll read it to you.
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i think we'll win ohio. i think we'll win wisconsin. i think we'll win iowa. i think we'll win nevada invest and new hampshire and i think florida will be close but we have a real shot of winning n't. do you want to react to the vice president? >> sounds like joe biden is confident. i was hoping it was another comment like in ohio saying it's great to be in iowa. but look. i think this is going to be a very close race. we have talked about this before, wolf. i think our country is decided right now and not a runaway either way but i believe mitt romney will win ohio and i think the energy is on our side, the momentum is on our side and that's what matters at the end. our folks have passion and concerned about the direction of the country and record debt and deficit and the economy and the fact not getting back on track with the weakest economic recovery since the great depression and at the end of the day that makes the difference
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and winning ohio and so goes ohio and the country they say. i'm pretty confident in a win but a narrow win and then figure out how to work together and this is what mitt romney's closing on talking about the fact that republicans and democrats an i like have to find xhn ground for the very real challenges faced as a country. it's a message that's uplifting, optimistic. about how america can be great again and the right closing message and what we need to do as a country after the election regardless of what happens. >> senator portman, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. good to talk to you again. you know, it's interesting, senator portman played president obama in all those rehearsals for the debates, that first debate. if romney goes on to win, he'll owe a lot to senator portman. >> and people looking to the first debate. >> if he wins and as rob portman thinks, he's confident about ohio. >> last hour we spoke to bo biden -- >> different perspective? >> big supporter of his dad and the president.
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very different perspective. >> shocking, shocking. can't believe that. still ahead, a new storm takes aim at the area still reeling of superstorm sandy. the latest on the recovery efforts, coming up next.
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one week after superstorm sandy, more than a million people are still without power in the northeast. the cleanup and the suffering clearly continue.
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kate's back with more on this and some of the day's other top stories. >> thanks, wolf. the death toll soared to at least 110 people here in the united states. still talking about superstorm sandy. 47 in new york state. the national guard going in. temperatures are plummeting and hundreds of thousands still have no power or have lost their homes entirely adding insult to injury, a nor'easter is forecast for wednesday in the storm zone. if you can believe it. many are conflicted about voting in tomorrow's election. listen here. >> do you think you're going to find your way to vote tomorrow? >> oh, i don't know. i don't know. >> i've been told on the radio that even if they don't have power, do paper ballots like the old days and still going there and check it out. they should be open. if they don't have power, i'll fit out a paper ballot. >> as far as priorities go, where's voting on the list? >> not very high but i need to make it a point because if i don't i'll regret it. >> good point.
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we have learned that new york will allow displaced voters to cast ballots by affidavit at any polling location and in new jersey for the first time ever voters will be able to vote by e-mail or fax in their ballots. also, the american soldier accused of killing 16 afghan villagers last march in a military courtroom. army staff sergeant bales is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder. the rampage strained already tense u.s.-afghan relations and intensifying debate of whether to withdraw american troops sooner ahead of the planned schedule. and gas prices are down across the u.s. posting their biggest two-week decline in four years. a survey says due to a drop in crude oil prices and reduced demand after hurricane sandy since many people could not buy fuel. the average price at the pump is $3.55 a gallon. when you put your mind to
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something, just about anything is possible. it seems. take a look at this video. seattle resident zach that lost his leg in an accident tested that idea with remarkable success using what the rehabilitation institute of chicago calls the first mind-controlled bionic leg. he climbed the willis tower. one of 3,000 people making the climb to raise a million dollars for a rehab center. that is amazing stuff. >> amazing and very impressive. good work. >> science is amazing. >> thanks for sharing that report. the first lady of the united states, she is campaigning for the president of the united states. we'll hear what she has to say. that's coming up. maybe somewhere around my house. mine's just, right over that way. well you can find out exactly where it is using bing elections. it's a good day for politics. which way do you lean politically? conservative. republican. well, using the bing news selector you can find news from whichever way you lean. (together) social on this side, financial.
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and finally, we believe in keeping our priorities straight. because each and every one of us knows good well that cutting "sesame street" is no way to balance our budget. we know better than that. instead, we know we need to cut wasteful spending but we also have to make smart investments in things like education and infrastructure for an economy built to last and that's what my husband stands for. that's the country he's been working to build for four years. and we're all working to build it together. and let me tell you. since the day he took office, on issue after issue, crisis after crisis, believe me, i've been there. that is what we've seen in our president. we've watched him. we saw this. i mean, think back to when barack first took office. where was this economy? it was on the brink of collapse.
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everybody knows that. newspapers were using words like meltdown, calamity declaring wall street imploeds. i was there. economy in shock. what was going on? the auto industry was in crisis. this economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. and a lot of folks were wondering whether we were headed for another great depression. do you hear me? that's what people were worried about. and that is what barack faced on day one as president of the united states. but let me tell you, instead of pointing fingers and placing blame, our president got to work. he got to work. see, because he was thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother and that's why he cut taxes for small businesses. and working families because we have a president fortunately who understands that teachers and firefighters shouldn't pay
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higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires. not in america. not in america. and that's why while some folks if you recall were willing to let the auto industry go under, do you know who i'm talking about? with more than a million -- do you hear me? a million jobs that would have been lost. see, barack had the backs of the american workers a and that's why today the american auto industry is back on its feet again. and while we have more work to do, to completely rebuild our economy, let me tell you, there are more and more signs, clear signs every day that we are on the road to recovery. let me tell you about some of them. exports have grown by 45%. companies hired more workers in october than in any time in the last eight months. under this president, majority
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of his term, we have had 32 straight months of private sector job growth. nearly 5.5 million new jobs created by this president under this administration. that's how we know we're moving in the right direction. >> all right. so the first lady of the united states making the pitch for her husband's re-election. let's discuss that and a lot more. gloria borger is here. david gergen is here. kate is still here. she's a pretty effective speaker out there on the campaign trail. >> she is and what strikes me about michelle obama and ann romney is not doing feel-good speeches. they're talking about policy and, you know, they carry a dagger as i like to say, wrapped in velvet which is what she was doing talking about the auto bailout and mitt romney. so, very political speech. >> very passionate. >> passionate speech. she's become an enormous asset for this president. not only for him personally but
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her stature has grown over time. i think it grew in part because she warmed up and she also had a softer side. more feminine side. i was a little surprised by the tone of the speech but listen. >> tough. >> it's a last 24 hours. a lot of passions. they're tired. i think all is forgiven. >> gloria, romney making a surprise trip tomorrow to pennsylvania, another one to ohio. do you think it makes a difference? >> well, in talking to people on his staff, they say it will. first of all, no early voting in pennsylvania. so they're not up against the machine there. secondly, i was talking to someone on his staff saying to me today that there are more democrats who support mitt romney in pittsburgh than anywhere else in the country. steel, coal. however, i would have to say that since obama won pennsylvania by ten points, in 2008, if there's any shot that he's going to lose pennsylvania, then there's a good shot he's going to lose the election so --
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>> pennsylvania -- if the president loses pennsylvania, romney's going to be the president. >> what if romney loses ohio, pennsylvania may be the -- if he can pull out pennsylvania -- >> more electoral votes an ohio. >> that's very unlikely to lose pennsylvania and get ohio. >> also you're in -- going to pennsylvania could be going to ohio. >> the other thing is -- >> media market. >> one of the state where is they didn't have a barrage of anti-romney ads against him and personal approval rating's higher there, actually. >> take a look at the itineraries. obama in the firewall. wisconsin, iowa. you know, what do these itineraries tell you? what does this tell you in the final day, 24 hours before? >> in the states that really matter and no one more than ohio. the presidential candidates in ohio more than 80 times. >> amazing. >> these candidates spent more
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time in ohio than william mckinley on the front porch out of canton, ohio. >> it is not about the popular vote anymore. it is about the states. >> cleveland looks like the hub for all airlines in the united states right now because that's how many times they have all been to ohio. >> tv stations in ohio. >> exactly right. >> gloria, listen to what lindsey graham, republican governor of south carolina said if romney were to lose. if i hear anybody say it was because romney wasn't conservative enough, i'm going to go nuts. we're not losing 95% of african-americans and two thirds of hispanics and voters under 30 because we're not being hard-ass enough. lindsey graham. >> well, this is graham's way of saying to the republican party, wake up. wake up. we have to start winning some nonwhite votes in this country. wake up. we may lose nevada because of hispanic votes. could lose colorado because of
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hispanic votes. look at the way the country is moving. his way of saying it's not about conservatism. it's about expanding the demographic in the party to include nonwhite voters. >> a lot of moderate conservatives in the republican party now that believe that the party is doomed to be a minority party unless it expands its base, unless it becomes more inclusive. look how much they've lost because california gone so solidly democratic. our lifetimes they used to be swing states and now they give any democratic nominee a big advantage right out of the box. >> now listen to this. michael share of "time" noticed the comparisons of the new stump line and former president. not clinton. take a listen here. >> after four years as president, you know me. you may not agree with every decision i've made. you may at times been frustrated by the pace of change but you know what i believe. you know where i stand.
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>> even when you might not agree with me, you know what i believe. you where i stand. and you know where i'm going to lead our nation. >> very similar pitches. is there any connection between the -- i mean sameties of 2004 and 2008? >> better the devil you know. >> it's the incumbent war cry. you know me. you know who i am. the truth of the matter is, though, i think that voters don't really know who either of these guys are in the end. what would a second obama term look like? and what would a first romney term look like given the turning around we've seen of mitt romney on the campaign? i don't think we know who either of them are. >> the fear of the unknown is what they're pitching against each other. >> where's president bush in 2004, see if it works for this president right now. thank you. >> thank you both. we'll take you to the must win swing states in a race this tight every electoral vote counts and why both candidates taking new hampshire and the
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new hampshire has only four electoral votes but the state's getting plenty of attention from both presidential candidates. president obama won there in 2008. john kerry just barely won back in 2004. cnn's brian todd is in manchester for us right now. brian, tell us about time you spent with both romney and obama supporters who are trying to get out the vote today. >> reporter: a huge effort here on the ground today, wolf, in new hampshire. a lot of buzz in the state, of course, because it's a battleground state. mitt romney wrapping up his campaign, the same place where he started it. new hampshire where he started the campaign about a year and a half ago. he holds a final rally with kid
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rock tonight at the verizon wireless arena two blocks from where we're standing. you mentioned the ground game. so crucial in this state, especially. both campaigns invested in it. we caught up with a group of romney supporters. two in particular. as they targeted a neighborhood. saying they get the walk books from their campaign headquarters telling them what neighborhoods to go to and people might be undecided and might be leaning toward romney and not sure. so she targeted a neighborhood, kathy did and told me about some of the undecided voters she sometimes comes across and what she does to try to win them over. >> that's very interesting to run in to an undecided voter. doesn't happen often but you really feel compelled to share a ton of information with them to hopefully bring them to vote with us, obviously. we want their vote. that's why we're out doing this and that's why i'm pounding the pavement for the last week and a half like hard, hard, hard.
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finding -- hoping to find undecided voters and help them make a good decision. >> reporter: kathy's been working for the romney campaign since august of last year so she's at the end of a long road and then caught up with an obama canvasser. ricardo rodriguez. he was going around in a working class neighborhood here in manchester, again, zeroing in on possible undecideds and independents and many independents in the state and here's what he told us, also, about some of the other potential voters who he's encountered. >> you know, i think a lot of the voters i have seen are people that are unregistered, that maybe need help registering or knowing what it is. there's a few laws that have been changed so we're just trying to get everybody, you know, the information they need to vote. >> reporter: and these canvassers of both campaigns they say they'll be out tomorrow morning. giving rides to the polls. the ground game so important here and full swing tonight, tomorrow morning.
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>> new hampshire really swung back and forth in these presidential elections over the past few decades. why is that, brian? >> reporter: well, you know, wolf, it's hard to say why but it really speaks to how crucial new hampshire has become. it was very reliably republican in the '70s and '80s and then it began to swing. in 2000, as you will remember, george w. bush beat al gore in this state by just one percentage point. people feel if gore won the state he might have won the electoral college count. john kerry won by one percentage point and president obama carried it in 2008. winning very comfortably and doing something in 2008, by the way, bill clinton could never do. he won every county in the state. not that close this time around. not sure why it keeps swinging, wolf. there are a lot of immigrants of other states and especially from massachusetts. in to new hampshire. so the influx of people kind of, you know, making that commute to
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boston area and moving from out of state in might have something to do with that swing. >> sure it does. brian, thanks very much. we'll watch new hampshire and the four electoral votes. >> our next battleground stop is colorado with its nine electoral votes. just like ohio, went for barack obama in 2008 after helping george w. bush win the white house in 2004. cnn's kung la is in colorado. are you getting a sense of who has the upper hand? >> reporter: well, the republicans saying they have the upper hand looking at who's actually voted, cast that vote, the republicans are leading by about 25,000 votes but that's not very much of a gap. what we're seeing here in this location i'm standing in, the early voting as you mentioned, kate, is over. but what people are doing is dropping off early ballots. they're -- these are the mail-in ballots. they can drop them off and murphy's law, no one's here but
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they can drive up, give their ballot to this gentleman and then he'll take the ballot and drop it in this red box. from here, these ballots then get counted by a machine. now, the machine will not tabulate until all the polls close, 7:00 p.m. tomorrow mountain time and then we're going to start to get results. colorado's secretary of state expecting results to come very quickly because about 85% of the registered voters will cast their vote by the end of today so they expect to have some results very quickly. republicans saying they have the energy, they have the ground game and they say if you go to an event like paul ryan showing up at his last event here in colorado, he had a lot of enthusiasm. there was a lot of energy among the crowd. they say that's paying off in the early vote and how much better they're doing in 2012 versus 2008. kate? >> thanks so much in denver for us watching early voting there. thanks so much. 85% of registered voters she
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said to vote by the end of the day. >> pretty cool. thank you. the swing states getting the most attention of both candidates. ohio. early voting there just ended a few hours ago. after attracting huge lines. what will tomorrow bring? what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone is ready with the know-how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready. at ♪ at wooohooo....hahaahahaha! oh...there you go. wooohooo....hahaahahaha! i'm gonna stand up to her!
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zblmpblt thanks to reporters in all of the must win swing states, nevada has six electoral votes. the state went to barack obama in 2008 and president bush in 2004. we have miguel in las vegas for us.
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what are you see iing? >> this comes out of the numbers in las vegas. the turnout for early voting has been enormous. there are 50,000 more democrats in early voting. about 400,000 votes left in the state at this point. that means tomorrow talking to political science prof sors, the republicans have to perform incredibly well. have to come out about 10% higher. more republicans than democrats tomorrow and among those voters, they have to outperform with democrats -- that is a huge hill for republicans to climb here in nevada. now, they will say that a lot of those democrats and a lot of those unaffiliated voters are going to go to them and that's where they make up their numb s numbers, but that theory will be tested tomorrow. >> nevada, a state we are watching closely. thanks so much. >> let's check in now with ohio. it has 18 electoral votes. they are crucial. republicans don't know when the
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white house if they don't carry ohio. president obama won the state in 2008. george bush barely carried ohio in 2004. what are you seeing, erin? >> well, wolf, this is defini definitely is center of everything. the president just held a rally here and i just spoke with robert gibbs. he told me dwre, yes, we believe it's going to come down to ohio. i spoke to marco rubio, a key surrogate for mitt romney who said yeah, i have to say the math is very difficult. i don't want to look at what the path is to electoral college victory without ohio, so ohio seems to be the center of what the campaigns think is going to determine this race. that's why we're here tonight. we're going to bring you our full conversations with robert gibbs and marco rubio and this, the most important person in this election is not barack obama, it's not mitt romney.
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it happens to be the secretary of state for the state of ohio. a very crucial ballot issue here. everyone had an absentee ballot, be u if you show up in person, you're going to have to pass a provisional. we're going to talk about that and see if the hanging chad scenario from florida will be what we see. may not get a victor, but if it comes down to ohio, as you know, it could be weeks until we know who actually wins. >> because they're going to have to spend, wait ten days before they start counting those ballots. coming up right at the top of the hour. >> people will vote with conviction, others, with bubble gum. what are we talking about? we're going to tell you, next. e, clearest water. we find the best, sweetest crab for red lobster that we can find. [ male announcer ] hurry in to red lobster's crabfest! the only time of year you can savor 5 succulent crab entrees, all under 20 dollars. like a half-pound of tender snow crab paired with savory grilled shrimp, just 12.99.
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new york city is known as america's artistic capital, so when it comes to something as serious as electing a president, you can count on creativity to be part of the process. here is cnn's jeanne moos. >> who needs a ballot when you can vote with your gum? sure, there are plenty of dumb ways to predict the presidential vote. does it invalidate your ballot when you spit it out? to counting the sails of chia obama and romney. we applied the seed paste three weeks ago. mitt romney hair is flourishing, but barack obama's is balding. though the president leads in sails, 62 to 37%. the president is also ahead in the cookie count. >> two mitt romney cookies, please. >> this this slave state bakery,
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obama leads. from tasty to yucky. our favorite poll is the juicy fruitiest. >> it's pretty gross. >> the guy calling it gross is one of the three people who dreamed up the gum election. they're all in the creative end of advertising and felt like getting involved in the campaign even though -- >> i couldn't vote or like all of us couldn't vote. i'm from germany -- >> bunch of foreigners doing this to our presidential candidates. >> that's new york city. >> put up about 50 posters asking passers by to vote with their gum for the candidate they don't like. mitt romney got a cigarette in the eyeball. president obama got exed out. >> some people turned romney into the devil. >> with a pair of greenhorns. not only is governor romney running, so is his nose. since new york city is a basket of liberals, of course way more people are sticking it to mitt.
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ohio expressed the '60s group, bubble gum pop as the best campaign song. ♪ after chewing things over, this one plastered mitt romney. >> just wanted to make sure i had the most impact. >> every once in a while, you see a glob that's still undecided, but in new york city, the more conservative candidate is bound to get his butt kicked. >> i gummed mitt romney. >> new york. >> leave it to those new yorkers. now, you're going to be in virginia. >> a key battleground state for our coverage tomorrow. i'll be at a polling -- very important. >> good barometer of where that -- >> many people ask me do you have a pregame election warm-up? >> get a good night's sleep. run on the treadmill, eat healthy, be strong.