tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC November 3, 2012 4:00am-5:00am PDT
that does it for us tonight. we will see you again on sunday night, yes, i said sunday night. we are doing a special live edition of this show on sunday night, because, well, isn't it obvious? "weekends with alex witt" starts now. all-out sprint. three days to the election and both the president and mitt romney on a nonstop sweep of critical swing states. new this morning a fresh poll in two of those key states. we've got live coverage ahead. our other big story of the morning, the aftermath of sandy. an outcry forces the new york marathon's cancellation. millions remain without power, while many are without access to food and water. we've got a live update in minutes. plus the gas crisis. people still waiting in lines for hours, so how long will it
last? and is this any solution in sight? good morning, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." and welcome here to the kickoff of msnbc's live coverage from demosthenes plaza. we'll be right here in rockefeller center in new york city from now until election day and through the results night on tuesday. we're going to have more on that in just a moment. but first here's what's happening right now. it is a sprint to the finish, a huge weekend for both campaigns. president obama and mitt romney crisscrossing the country in a blur of nonstop events. we have two reports, nbc's peter alexander is in new hampshire today with mitt romney and nbc white house correspondent kristen welker is in house with president obama. we're going to start with the president, who is making four campaign stops in four different states. kristen welker is not campaigning. but she's making those four stops in four states, she is in mentor, ohio. kristen, good morning to you on this busy day. the president showing the importance of that state by coming back again today?
>> oh, absolutely, alex. good morning to you. look, it is no surprise that president obama is kicking off the weekend here in ohio. this is really the cornerstone of his midwest firewall. if mitt romney can't win ohio, it is nearly impossible for him to win the presidency. and right now polls show that president obama is holding onto a modest lead here in the buckeye state. president obama made three stops here on friday. and really what was a campaign all-out blitz, two of those stops, by the way, alex, were in counties that he lost back in 2008. he's hoping to kick off some of those working-class voters. he's doing it by the auto bailout. that is something that is widely popular here that, of course, mitt romney opposed. widely popular because one out of every eight ohioans has a connection to the auto industry. president obama also touting what he called an economy that is in recovery. he referenced friday's jobs report to do it. take a listen. >> in 2008 we were in the middle of two wars, and the worst economic crisis since the great
depression. today our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs and this morning we learned the company's hired more workers in october than at any time in the last eight months. >> president obama has a frenetic campaign today straight through election day today, alex. he will make stops in wisconsin, iowa, and virginia, where he will be stumping with former president bill clinton. >> it promises to be an exciting and very rapid day out there. thank you so much. we'll see you again from the trail, kristen. we have more headlines from the campaign trail. mitt romney drew his largest crowd yet in ohio last night with 18,000 supporters in westchester. >> now i have a question for you, are you finally ready for real change? as you know, four years ago, candidate barack obama promised to do so very much. but he's fallen so very short.
>> after governor romney first stop this morning in new hampshire he heads to iowa, then on to colorado. running mate paul ryan will hold events in ohio, pennsylvania, virginia, and florida. meanwhile, president obama was quick to respond to governor romney's latest attacks during his tour through ohio on friday. >> suddenly he's the candidate of change. but we know what change looks like. and what he's trying to sell, that ain't it. that ain't it. >> two new nbc/"wall street journal"/marist polls to show with you this morning. president obama with a six-point lead among likely voters in ohio. the numbers you see there, 51% to 45%. then going on to florida, the president gets support from 49% of likely voters. mitt romney, very close behind with 47%. let's go now to the latest on governor romney's campaign stops today. he starts off with a rally coming up in just about two
hours, 9:00 a.m. nbc's peter alexander is in new hampshire. good morning to you, peter. >> alex, good morning to you. we're on the tarmac here now in new hampshire, specifically just a short time from now this is going to fill up with a big crowd greeting mitt romney and then sending him on his wail for what will be an exhaustive weekend. beginning here in new hampshire, he makes stops in iowa, colorado, back to iowa, ohio, pennsylvania, a state the republicans are hoping to pick off from president obama, and then virginia. and that's just saturday and sunday, and he will sleep sunday night in florida, believe it or not. yesterday night, quite a scene, the largest crowd we've seen all campaign for governor romney, close to 30,000 people gathered outside cincinnati and ohio. among them a lineup of top republican leaders, as well as sports stars and some rock stars, too. yesterday governor romney made what his campaign is referring to as his closing argument. effectively, indicting president obama's record. he said the president promised change in 2008, but that he couldn't deliver it.
he said he is promising change but he has a record of accomplishing it. he said, if, and then he said when, he becomes president, that's always the top line for his supporters in the crowd, he's not going to let america settle. he says he will not attack his predecessor, a reference to the obama campaign that he claims continues to blame president george w. bush for any of america's challenges at this time. right now the campaign remains confident. they think this think will be down to the wire. they say it shows a different story than some of the public polls, and they feel very strongly they're going to win this on tuesday. that's the latest. back to you. >> all right, i'll take it. coming up in just a few minutes, hard ball's chris matthews. we're going to ask him if something unexpected is going on in pennsylvania. and could that change the race? well he should know because he is from the keystone state. that is just ahead for you. let's get the latest on the devastation left by hurricane sandy. this morning federal and local officials will update the president on the government's storm response. right now, the power is back on
in thousands of more homes. but more than 2.9 million customers are still without power across six states, most of them in new jersey. repair crews are coming to the region from across the country. the death toll from sandy is rising, sadly. 109 people have died in the u.s. most of those victims live right here in new york city. relief workers are descending on the city's epicenter of disaster, that is staten island this morning. they are handing out food and other supplies. some residents say the help is too little, too late. >> it is not red cross. this is us. we're giving out the blankets, we're giving out the food. we're going door-to-door helping everybody. >> i am furious. i am angry. i can't believe that devastation like this is being unanswered, uncalled, that we're also unprotected. >> took our neighbors in across the street, and offered up the most generous -- i am so grateful he did that. >> we knew the boat was a loss.
the water filled up the whole cabin so we jumped and started trying to run down the dock, as we get down to the end of the dock, we see there is no end of the dock. >> it's getting colder as we go. all right? each day, it's colder than the day before. >> and this is a huge story here on this early saturday morning, as new jersey will begin rationing gas sales. that starts at noon today. meanwhile, the military will deliver extra fuel supplies to storm ravaged parts of the country and that will help ease the miles long lines, look at those, all outside gas stations across the northeast. while many are frustrated they admit that their situation could have been worse. >> look like you're almost going to cry. >> let me tell you something, i feel bad. this is my worst, happened to me. people lost houses. they lost -- and this is my worst. i just wanted to go to work. >> got turned away, gas is off. >> i ran out of gas and i had to push it from three blocks up, on the line, as everybody goes so slowly.
>> i'll stay here until 12:00 if i have to. you know, where else am i going to get gas? everywhere is closed. i drove around this morning. now my car's got no gas. >> i was in line the first time two hours. this is my second round for another two hours. >> we all know that things will get better. >> it's got to get better. >> my house is 51 street. and my car is like 8. >> tough times though, right? nbc's katie chura is on the north side. >> good morning, alex. here at this station on 44th street. the lines are already very long this morning. yesterday got down to 18th street. that's 26 blocks where these cars were waiting. that took many, many hours. this morning, once again, the same thing, the lines are already starting to rival yesterday. also you're seeing lines over on 11th avenue. people getting up in the middle of the night, waking up super early to get here to try and get gas. they're hoping the lines will start getting better. there's been some new shipments of gas. but again the issue is power.
they can't get power to many of these stations which means they can't pump the gas that they do have. over in new jersey, much the same. long lines there, as well. hour-long waits. people pulling up to the gas station, just running on fumes. actually being needed to be pushed into the gas station. that's why governor christie is deciding to ration the fuel. if you have an odd numbered license plate you can get gas on an odd numbered day. if you have an even numbered license plate you can get gas on an even number day. of course everybody is hoping that this will start to get better soon. as of now, though, it's still bad today, saturday morning. other things going on the red cross says they desperately need blood. i know there's a disaster going on but they say there are other things, i know you're donating to them but we still need blood so they're urgently asking anyone that can to donate blood when they can. alex? >> all right. katie tur, thank you for that update. the storm's aftermath forced new york city to put the brakes on tomorrow's marathon. michael bloomberg and the marathon organizers reversed their decision late yesterday,
giving in to the mounting criticism. local residents were angered at the idea of losing power generators. police officers, as well as sanitation workers at the marathon. but some runners say they've flown across the world to participate and already paid that entry fee. did new york city officials make the right decision canceling the marathon? on twitter my handle is @alexwitt. we'll get to some of your tweets today from democracy plaza. while many are out of power and heat the temperatures are dipping below freezing which doesn't help things, right? what about the election day? let's look ahead with meteorologist dylan dreyer with the forecast. >> thanks, alex, good morning. we are talking about the cold air all across the northeast. temperatures, several degrees below average. and the wind is not helping, either. temperatures are in the 40s. we have windchills down in the 30s. and with so many folks without power, all through new jersey, back in to new york, up into connecticut, this cold air certainly is not helping matters.
on top of that we are going to see another storm work its way in for next week. just kind of piling up on the damage that's already out there. temperatures today will top out in the lower 50s. that is the low average for this time of year. so we will see some sun, that will help a little bit. but again we are still looking at some chilly temperatures for all those people without power. as we continue into next week, the election day forecast, looks a little messy down across the southeast. we will see some rain start to move back in to the carolinas, into georgia, as this area of low pressure starts to track its way up the mid-atlantic region, again. this is not going to be anything like sandy. however, we are still looking for a couple inches of rain out of this storm. and with the damage, we've seen at the beaches, we are actually looking for those waves to perhaps cause even more beach erosion than we've already seen. looks like the time frame would be wednesday night into thursday morning. alex? >> all right, dylan dreyer, thank you for that. how long can we expect those gas lines in the northeast to last? plus, new early voting numbers.
so who's winning? and in office politics, tom brokaw on how hurricane sandy could affect the election, and in all his years of coverage politics, something he can't remember ever seeing. "weekends with alex witt" live from democracy plaza is coming right back. stay with us. i gave birth to my daughter on may 18th,
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joining me now, hitha prabhakar a retail and economy analyst. good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> let's talk about yesterday's jobs numbers which were better than expected. can you break it down? >> jobs, about 171,000 jobs were added to the job pool. and that actually bumps the numbers up from 7.8% to 7.9%. the reason why there, they're jobs that were added, but really, there were more people in the pool that were applying for work that didn't end up going in to and actually getting work. so that's why we're seeing that bump up in that jobs number. >> okay. you know the numbers i'm hearing as a result of hurricane sandy, the costs, are just astronomic. can you break that down? >> in the beginning they were estimating that the storm was going to cost around $20 billion. now they're saying it's going to be between $30 billion to $50 billion. and one of the reasons why is because of all the electrical problems, and all the road closures. people can't get to -- get to
businesses, they can't get to work. they can't get supplies. so that's really what's causing the bumpup in costs there. >> yeah, and talk about causing a mess. these gas lines, the shortage of gas in the northeast, how long can you expect the lines to last? >> i've got to tell you. i almost had to channel my inner chris hayes this morning. the gas lines are very, very long. and right now, janet napolitano signed an act, a jones act, that they're going to allow oil tankers to come through into new york harbor from the gulf of mexico. so that's going to ease the pain at the pump a little bit. right now, gas prices, the national average is $3.50. in new york state, we're averaging at about $4. >> okay. hitha prabhakar, thank you for the update on the big three money headlines. the october jobs report, we're going to get to more details about what that might mean for the election coming up. also today's one-minute playback. democracy plaza in 1952. we're going to give you a remarkable snapshot of the nbc election night coverage back
welcome back to nbc's democracy plaza live here in new york city just outside of rockefeller center. it is three days to go until election day. and joining me now is chris matthews, host of msnbc's "hardball" with chris matthews. good morning. i'm warming up the place here for you. >> thanks. we'll be there monday. i'm also going to be coming out of cleveland on sunday night with joe biden. >> well that's going to be very exciting, sunday night. but i tell you it's a lot of
work, this place looks great. let's talk about mitt romney and paul ryan. they had that huge rally last night in ohio. in that they the president was leading, chris, this morning by six points according to the nbc poll there. can mitt romney close that gap in ohio? we've got three days to go. >> how would i know? how would i possibly know, alex? >> i'm asking you because of your wide perspective having covered so many elections. >> it's a state republicans need to win the election. they always need it. they don't win without it. i remember even when they -- even when democrats win, you know, it's rarely a republican state. nixon carried it in '60 against kennedy. it's a republican-leaning state. but this time because of romney's failure to support the auto rescue, his opposition to it, and lately those dishonest ads about jeep going over to china are not helping him at all. >> right. so you think the auto bailout has played in significantly here in this state? >> i call it a rescue, first of all. i love the auto industry. and i think the american people
love it, too. it's part of our culture that we make our own cars. i think it's phenomenal that anyone would oppose saving the american auto industry. and i really think up there, where people, you know, root for the bears and the browns in the cold weather, and it's the old rust belt feeling, that it's a very important thing to make your own cars. and you know, for years john dingell from michigan wouldn't let anybody park in the congressional parking lot that didn't have an american car. you know, it's real stuff up there. and to be on the wrong side of that issue and say yeah, go get bankrupt, buddy, it's unbelievable. and now he's done the same thing with fema, romney. talk about being wrong-footed. saying he wanted to get rid of fema, and now this storm comes along and you look like you're a dufus. i mean, it's his doing. it's not my name calling. why would you want to be a guy who wants to be opposed to dealing with natural disasters? how can you say you're against the federal government playing a role in natural disasters? and he says that very thing. he says the states should do it.
>> well -- >> that's incredibly bad luck. >> the president's getting strong approval because of his way of handling a natural disaster like this. >> he should. >> can we look to the sunshine state? >> sure. >> there's this poll with the vifrt yule tie with president obama leading by just two points. who is it that needs florida the most at this point? >> oh, if obama wins florida he's won this thing. he swept the table. look if he gets florida, it means he's probably got virginia. he's got pennsylvania. which i do think is a little hairy in pennsylvania. i still think it. didn't have the auto bailout aspect. it's got a lot of people in appalachia, very tough on obama, on the southwestern part of the state. i think that state is more in play than people think. i think democrats will squeak it by a couple points. but that one is much more precarious. that's why romney's going in there on sunday. and i don't think that's a head fake. i think he's going there thinking he can win it. so i think i would do it in this order. the democrats most likely to get ohio. and then i'd say virginia and
then florida. so if they get florida they get all three. yeah it's good for them. >> and all the money that mitt romney's spending in pennsylvania, i mean, that shows that they want that, they need that state. >> i think you're right. they need it. >> latest jobs numbers right now that came out on friday, chris, they show unemployment ticked up. it was a tenth of a point to 7.9% level. but employers added 170,000 jobs. that beat expectations. >> 125,000, three months in a row of 170,000 or more. so they're three months in a row of that. and obviously we're not in nirvana here but clearly, the way we look at these jobless numbers now. two ways. we look at the percentage, and i do think obama would have been in trouble if it had gone back up to 80 that would have been the wrong direction. but the fact that it went to 7.9, and added so many more jobs than predicted was pretty good for him. i would say he got by at least, probably got a slight plus out of friday in terms of romney's
statement, for example, was definitely tone-deaf when he came out friday morning and said -- yesterday morning and said, it's bad news. it's not bad news. 171,000 new jobs is good news. >> chris, when we were just talking about florida, virginia, ohio, is there a chance that if those all go one way, we'll turn the lights off early on tuesday night, wednesday morning? >> well, i think the american people would benefit from a clear winner. and i say it totally objectively. i don't think we need to have some diabolical problem in ohio or florida messup. we don't need that for this country right now. we have enough division. we need a clear verdict where the american people have made their verdict. i'd like to see the popular vote coincide with the electoral vote. i think it would be better for our country. it may not. and if that is the case we've got to be grown-ups about it and accept how our constitution works. we got through it in 2000, where al gore got more popular votes. he didn't run around the country saying i really won. he accepted the constitution. i thought rather graciously. we'll see if either guy, if
they're in that situation this time, does it so graciously. >> well that -- >> i think it's important that they do that. i think that's patriotism in action. i think if anybody runs around saying i've got the popular vote. it doesn't mean anything. and i can see -- well, i have my own suspicions. >> back to your point, the electoral versus popular vote split. tom brokaw is coming up in office politics and he said almost verbatim exactly what you did, chris. thank you so much. >> good luck over the weekend, alex. >> thanks. we're having a good time up here so far. democracy plaza rocks. all of you can watch a special edition of "hardball" tomorrow at 7:00 eastern. among chris' guests, vice president joe biden. for our one-minute playback we go way back. here's kenneth banghart setting up coverage from studio 8-h in 1952. >> set to bring you the most complete election coverage ever devised. nbc has brought you this great election headquarters, political observers and others wait near
nbc cameras across the land to report and interpret the rush of returns flooding from the polling places. our experts will be aided by amazing new machines, scientific brains rallied by nbc till vision to bring you the most accurate picture with split-second timing. here we are, the first sweep of the camera. we're coming around now first to our main interview desk. there you'll see our anchorman bill henry, we'll be back to bill henry in just a moment. next to him is the presidential desk where john cameron swayze will report on the presidential vote as he did a moment ago. notice the map of the united states, designed to report the number of elector cal college votes for each state. a quick visual check on the race for you. >> that right there, if you're tuning in. what a difference 60 years can make. now we're appearing in democracy plaza, home of decision 2012 coverage on election night we are expecting thousands of you to gather as the results come in. the iconic skating rink you see it has the map there of the u.s.
with state icing over in red or blue as the race will be called by the nbc news decision desk. red and blue banners are going to rise up in front of the building as each campaign climbs toward 270. where else would you want to be on election night than right here? our coverage live in democracy plaza continues after the break. try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase.
[ male announcer ] some day, your life will flash before your eyes. ♪ make it worth watching. ♪ the new 2013 lexus ls. an entirely new pursuit. you are looking live at democracy plaza, rockefeller center here in the heart of manhattan. the broadcasting headquarters for our coverage of the 2012 election. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." in just a moment we're going to take a look at two new critical swing state polls and a last check on early voting. who's winning in that? first the aftermath of hurricane sandy. right now nearly 3 million homes are without power across the northeast. more utility crews are being deployed to the northeast from across the country. the federal government set up temporary housing for out-of-statue tillty workers in new jersey. the latest death toll stands at
109 victims in the u.s. with more deaths in the caribbean. many of the victims lived in new york city, the borough of staten island. the president is monitoring the cleanup effort and meeting with federal and state officials this morning, administration officials will visit storm damaged communities in new jersey, new york, connecticut, and west virginia. let's get the latest on the relief efforts from people still grappling with the aftermath of sandy. michelle franzen is in staten island this morning. good morning, michelle. >> good morning alex. staten island, the hardest hit in new york city, suffering the most damage and obviously the most lives lost here. take a look at these boats at the marina, on the water, pushed up from sandy's force, into homes. inland it was flooding and just the sheer force of sandy that destroyed homes, and displaced some 500 people who are now estimated to be living in shelters. and many of them don't feel that they got the help they needed in those initials days and were
forgotten out here yesterday. homeland secretary janet napolitano made a visit here. fema now here, red cross, the national guard. napolitano promising that staten island and other areas will have the resources they need for the long-term. in the meantime, just sandy's sheer force has left a mark on many people's lives. >> when i came home there was water coming down, my whole first floor and my second floor is destroyed. a group of men helped put down the garage door to protect it. it's uninhabitable. and else where around new york city, power is slowly being restored to sections of lower manhattan that was out. and in new jersey, destruction along the jersey shoreline will be long and slow process. the governor telling people, trying to brace them, when they finally get back to their homes, if they have homes, that they
will not recognize their area and it will be a long haul ahead. also, alex, gas rationing starts in new jersey, beginning at noon today, and there will be long lines, no doubt, again. >> boats on the sidewalk as a backdrop. thank you very much, michelle franzen. now to politics. just three days to go until the election. the latest nbc news poll show an extremely tight race between president obama, mitt romney. in the key swing states of ohio and florida, that's where both candidates have been spending a lot of their time. joining me now is mark murray, nbc news senior political editor, and edo keith congressional reporter for "the washington post." hi, guys, ready to go? >> good morning. >> how you feeling? >> let's talk about these polls you put out there, mark. what did you find in florida, and ohio? >> well, in ohio, president obama has a six-point advantage among likely voters. 51% to 45%. in florida, it's closer. president obama at 49% among likely voters. yet mitt romney at 47% among likely voters. one thing that is helping president obama is that early
vote, the overwhelming number of people who've already voted early say that they are backing president obama. mitt romney has a little bit of a better score over obama on the economy. in florida, but in ohio it's president obama with the slight edge on who would better handle the economy. >> okay, so what is the interpretation of these numbers, though. does it mean it's all about getting out there to vote? i mean, it looks like president obama has the lead with the early voting. >> he does. and actually, just look at the totality of the poll right now. these two states, ohio and florida, are perhaps the biggest electoral prizes come election night. if president obama is able to win ohio, he secures his midwest firewall, as long as he's able to win wisconsin and iowa. meanwhile, on florida, that is a must-win state for mitt romney with its 29 electoral votes. if somehow he loses that state, you can actually see president obama getting past 270 without winning other battleground states. and so those two states might be the most important to watch come
election day. >> absolutely. especially those 18 electoral votes in ohio. ed, you're joining us from columbus, give me a check on the mood there. >> well, you know, i think the poll you guys just put out confirms that the president is ahead here, and the fact that the gap appears to be widening ever so slightly, at least in your survey, is telling. i think a lot of this is, you know, the fact that they believe that, you know, he saved the auto industry or at least has campaigned on that. remember you can't make a car in michigan unless you have the parts made in ohio. i think a lot of people here appreciate that realization that the president really and his administration have done what they did. another thing to keep in mind about ohio, i saw this vividly a few weeks ago when i was here, the obama campaign never left ohio. and you talk to their people, you talk to their volunteers on the ground, and they say, we've been doing this now for five years in a sense. almost six years. you go to the cleveland suburbs, there are obama campaign offices just two doors down from where they were four years ago.
and the same people are showing up. there's something about the fact that they've been able to hold on to the support they had over five or six years ago, and really just continue that playbook all the way through this year. >> yeah. >> and build upon whatever they were able to do back then. >> i think someone suggested that the president has almost tripled the number of offices there in the state of ohio, as mitt romney does. can i ask you quickly about ohio's provisional ballots, ed, and the probability or chance they may hold up the results in that state? >> well, they could. and people here call it the nightmare scenario. the reason is that all of the registered voters in this state received an application for an absentee ballot. so if they requested one sent to their home, and they don't fill it out, and they show up to vote on tuesday, they're going to be told you have to fill out those provisional ballot because we already sent you one that you didn't mail in. state law says you have to wait ten days before you open those provisional ballots and count them. now this will matter if the margin is close. let's say it's under 100,000 and say 200,000 provisional ballots
were cast. but state officials are convinced that they'll be able to call the election tuesday night, that they won't have this problem. but certainly both parties have been, you know, alerting people to the possibility of this. they've put lawyers in place. they have poll watchers all across the state ready to monitor this. but certainly could be an issue to watch tuesday night. >> we do not want to be counting ballots on november 17th. that would not be a good idea. mark and ed, get back to it. we'll see you here again. thank you so much. in this week's office politics, my conversation with tom brokaw. we talk about the crossroads this country has come to and what the history books may say about this election. but i began by asking tom how hurricane sandy compares with the many other natural disasters he has covered. >> you know, in an odd way, it reminded me of being in the big earthquake, the mountaintops and the things about this hurricane, obviously, is that it hit in our most concentrated centers of
population. and our most crucial financial districts. so, it brought everything to a stop. now, how the rest of the country reacts to this, you know, it's hard to know. when it hits new york, and it hits new jersey, and hits connecticut, you're hitting the densest population mass that we have. and when everything comes to a stop, transportation services, small businesses, large businesses, it has a -- a reverberating effect across the country. so this one, i think, will be in the history books. >> sandy, the human tragedy, you hate to reduce it to political terms but there is no denying this in an election right now. how does sandy affect this election? how do you see that playing out? >> i honestly don't know whether it will alter someone going into the voting booth and change their mind. that they'll go either for romney or for obama based on the hurricane. i do think that you can take the measure of what happened to the
campaign process. it kind of froze it in place for a couple of days. and arguably, you can make the case that didn't help governor romney. because he seemed to be on a roll at that point. >> momentum -- >> but it's really hard to know until we start to get the results, and hear what people say about how it affected their voting pattern, and it affected their behavior, quite honestly. i do think that president obama, arm in arm with governor christie, with the kind of picture that the campaign must have said thank you, god, because what that did was say to the country, republicans and democrats can work together, because that's what the country wants to see. i think the united states is more fractured than i can remember. and that's fed, in part, by the ability of people with special interests to, if you will, fan the flames on the internet. which they try to do. division is good for them. they want to pit one interest against another.
but i also think that the economic downturn undermined for a lot of voters their confidence in the country and where it was going. a lot of the assumptions that they had grown up with were kind of wiped out. you can make a good investment in your home, it will be the best thing that you can do. suddenly your home is worth half as much as what you paid for it. >> i think regardless of whom you vote for, when we all woke up the day after the election the last go-around there was a sense that something good had been accomplished. we had elected our first african-american president. do you think, if barack obama is not elected, tom, that it negates some of that? it dispels some of that accomplishment? >> i don't think it has anything to do with the african-american. the president would be the first to say i'm being related by what i did in office not in terms of the color of my skin. >> but in terms of history judging it? >> i think 9 sense of history will be did he succeed as president? that's the test.
we don't give people an automatic pass, quite honestly. they have to measure up to the job that we expect them to do for everyone. he did inherit a very difficult situation. economically, two of the longest wars in the nation's history. but for the first time of years, until the election of 2010, he seemed not to have an extraordinarily clear, firm idea of how he wanted to lead the country, and how he wanted to -- how he was going to persuade the rest of us that it was in our best interest in the way that he was going to lead the country. >> more of our conversation today at 12:00 noon. we talk about similarities with this election to previous ones and the 180 the weekend before the election. in just a few minutes the latest on early voting. what does it indicate for tuesday's outcome? up next the wake-up call from hurricane sandy. is the storm forcing us to confront climate change, and face new worst-case scenarios?
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welcome back to democracy plaza at rockefeller plaza, the headquarters of our coverage of the 2012 election. in just a few minutes we're going to get a snapshot of early voting. is it a preview of things to come on tuesday? meantime, somewhat of a bombshell, new york mayor michael bloomberg threw his support behind president obama this week. his reasons? climate change. his evidence, hurricane sandy. joining me now is carl davenport, energy and environmental correspondent for the national journal. coral, welcome, good morning. >> thanks, good to be here. >> i know for the past few months you've written a few pieses about global warming. one came in september, proved especially futuristic here. no laughing matter. you wrote about how global warming is already affecting the coastal residents. even before the storm, what kind of an impact are we talking about? >> we are already seeing the global -- the bottom line impact. we're seeing higher storm surges
to coastal residents. everywhere from florida to new hampshire. we're seeing increased insurance costs. we're seeing bottomline costs as there are more and more storms, not just storms like sandy, but in the northeast they're seeing more and more of those 100-year storms, inside, two storms like that inside a decade. so higher and higher bottom-line costs to taxpayers, homeowners, insurance companies. even before sandy. from these rising sea levels and increase intensity storms. >> so coral, where does the conflict come from, then, within the scientific community? because it seems like there are two camps on the legitimacy of climate change. >> the journal -- the national academy of sciences, the journal, proceedings of the national academy of sciences took a survey of scientists who work on this a couple of years ago, and there was agreement among 97% of scientists that fossil fuel emissions from human activity lead to global warming.
are warming the atmosphere. that's an incredibly high consensus. so it's 97% in agreement. 3% in disagreement. at this consensus. at this point the scientific consensus is very, very strong that burning coal and oil and fossil fuels is warming the planet and leading to these extreme weather situations. >> so, this question really, then, is directed to the 3% of scientists as we look at the latest cover of "business week" it speaks for itself, coral, we had new york city mayor michael bloomberg endorsing the president in a piece largely focused on climate change. is this a wake-up call and could it end the debate? >> the problem is you can't ever say any one specific weather event is caused by climate change but you can look at the growing stack of reports saying we know we're going to see more of this. the national academies of sciences have put out reports saying climate change will lead to increased flooding and storm surges in the northeast. that's been known. we often know that climate
change will lead to increased drought in the midwest. we already got a preview of that this summer. we know what's coming. you can't say any one specific storm, but we can see we will see more intense storms, higher storm surges -- >> yeah. >> -- the data is there, you know, all we have to sort of -- we have a map ahead of what's coming. >> absolutely. coral davenport, we'll have you back again to talk further about all the data. thank you very much. >> good to be here. up next, an a look at early voting. "weekends with alex witt" continues live from democracy plaza right after this. the truth about mascara is... it clumps. introducing a revolutionary new mascara. clump crusher...crusher. 200% more volume. zero clumps. new clump crusher from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl. to come home for the holidays.
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early voting stats, michael mcdonald professor of government and politics at george mason university and head of the u.s. elections project. welcome back. i guess it's all about you, because we have to ask you about the latest national tolley, michael. what do you know? >> we've got over 25 million people that already voted and that's just from the jurisdictions that reported data, so we're probably much higher than the 25 million. >> okay. what about florida, party breakdown, do you know the numbers? >> let's look at the states now, the democrats are leading if we look at party registration which isn't quite the same as self-identified party from a poll and we see the domes do have about a 2 1/2 percentage point lead right now in the state of florida among the early voters. and if we look at some of the other states, too, things are looking pretty good for obama in most of them. if we just take the top-line number. however, if you look at 2008, obama was doing much better at this point in time, so the democrats are really, you know, i would say have to be a little bit concerned in florida at this point. it's not --
>> yeah. >> -- good for them as 2008. it's going to be a very close election there. >> we were throwing up the numbers there in colorado but, you know, it all begins in iowa. i would love to take a look at the numbers from iowa. >> iowa, we've got a large number of ballots in as well, and if you look at the numbers it looks very good for obama from the top-line number. however, obama's not doing as well as he did in 2008. i mean, that's a general trend across the country. we knew obama would not win be seven percentage points in this election like he did in 2008 so we've seen the margins draw down in all of the states and that's what we're seeing in iowa. there are troubling signs for obama here as well which is over the last few days more republicans are returning their ballots, they're catching up in terms of the returned ballots -- >> is that true in ohio? >> we don't have good information out of ohio so i can't tell you that, but we're seeing the trend in colorado, iowa, north carolina, and we're seeing it in florida among the mail-in ballots, and denver a lot of mail-in ballots on the table at this point.
>> all right, michael mcdonald, thanks for the weigh-in. we'll see you again. that's a wrap for "weekends with alex witt." straight ahead more smart political talk on "up with chris hayes" all to come on msnbc. we'll be back here at noon live from democracy plaza. join us then. hello? boo! i am the ghost of meals past. when you don't use new pam, this is what you get. residue? i prefer food-based phantasm, food-tasm. poultry-geist works too if you used chicken. [ laughs ] resi-doodle-doo. [ female announcer ] bargain brand cooking spray can leave annoying residue. but new pam leaves up to 99% less residue. new pam helps you keep it off. [ male announcer ] the way it moves.
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