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charged. today san diego county does have an early warning system in place. officials say it has already saved lives. that's all for this edition of "dateline." good morning everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters. it's 7:00 in the east, 4:00 a.m. out west. two days and counting until the midterms. crunching the numbers, new polls on the battle for house. whether the president's new focus on immigration is really working. >> got to come in legally, folks. you can't come in that way. did they energize our base or what? >> why did the folks who won the election so mad all the time? >> what to expect as the current president and his predecessor ramp up their messages in a final push. margin of error. many big races neck and neck
despite early voting. will the surge last through election day? plus -- >> people are always asking me, how do you sleep at night? in fact, they scream it at me all day long. >> a little political humor on "saturday night live" featuring sarah huckabee sanders you won't want to miss. ♪ a fevered final stretch some 48 hours before polls officially open. candidates, supporters and surrogates in the coming hours zigzagging cross-country and state and town square to deliver their message. at stake, the balance of power in congress. new poll numbers hold an advantage in the house. 51 to 44 lead among likely
voters. for weeks, voters already casting ballots in some parts, some even waiting in lines. the result, historic early voting numbers. one expert calling it uncharted territory with 33 million ballots cost, more than in the entire 2014 midterm election. in battleground florida, 4 million votes cast already, more than 2/3 of the 2014 turnout. president trump in the sunshine state, part of a cross-country election blitz. last night a familiar message stoking immigration fears. >> did you watch tonight? i sent the united states military to our borders and i looked at those young great people and i looked at those generals giving the orders and i looked at the way they worked and i watched that barbed wire being put down. these aren't babies. they broke through viciously. we're not having them. the good thing, they don't
breakthrough our military. nobody does. >> trump will rally in georgia today where the race for dw governor could be heading to a runoff. prominent democrats are also making their case to voters. former vice president joe biden in ohio. >> very powerful. as barack alluded to yesterday, my friends heard me saying the last month and a half, by trying to convince us that treating or speaking to people with respect is an outdated form of political correctness. they're telling us honesty is relative depending where you stand. truth is truth. truth is truth. honesty is honesty. >> today president obama returns to the campaign trail rallying democrats in indiana. he will later head to his hometown, chicago, to encourage
there to vote. >> also this morning, from the governor's race in georgia, stacey abrams and brian kemp condemning a racist robo call that originated from a white supremacist vote. both in a dead heat. each has 47%. nbc news and target smart estimate 2 million voters cast ballots in early georgia voting. one of the road warriors in place across the country, beth joins us from atlanta. good morning to you, beth. what all is on the agenda today? >> reporter: hey, alex, good morning. stacey abrams was the focus of the celebrity visits in georgia last week. a visit from president obama and oprah winfrey. brian camp is getting his visit from none other than president trump. they're going to rally together in macon, georgia. that's a big thing for brian kemp. this is a very, very, very tight
race. probably a statistical dead heat as you said. trump weighed in on that race. he spoke out about it last week unprompted. he said that stacey abrams was unqualified to be the governor of georgia. he said something about her past. he never said what he was talking about made her unqualified. went to spellman college and yale law school. we'll see if he has elaboration about that today. brian kemp is in the trump hold on immigration. he brought it up at a town hall that he held in suburban atlanta. he made some very strange comments about stacey abrams, saying that she's very in support of illegal immigrants. let's take a listen. >> she also wants taxpayer benefits, free college for those illegally. my friends, that will bankrupt the citizens. she's also been asking illegals to vote for her in this
election. undocument undocumented, documented people being part of the blue wave. that's illegal, and she knows it. >> reporter: stacey abrams from her part has from beginning said that georgia is a changing state. it's ready for a progressive democrat like her to take the reins. let's see what she told "am joy" yesterday. >> we foe that the state is changing and what brian kemp said in 2014 was that too many minorities were being registered and republicans should be afraid. he said it again a couple of weeks ago. this time he says if every eligible voter in georgia casts a ballot, he will not win. i want georgia to prove him right. >> reporter: stacey abrams is starting a bus tour of her own this afternoon in augusta. >> the president is traveling to georgia today to campaign for brian kemp. we have another msnbc road warrior from macon, georgia. alley, good morning to you.
what are we expecting to see from your vantage point today? >> good morning, alex. we're at the airport in macon where the president will be, as beth said, around 4:00 today. yesterday he was in florida campaigning in another governor's race where they're running neck and neck. gillum is leading by a slight margin. polls in that state have shown gillum with a consistent lead. florida is probably going to be close, more than 4 million people already voted there according to our analysis. so clearly, turnout is going to be key. the president stumped pretty hard for ron desantis last night. take a look at what he said. >> in ron's case, he's going against somebody that's got a lot of energy, but he runs one of the worst, one of the biggest problem cities anywhere in the country. he's not doing the job. you don't want to have him running florida. that i can tell you. >> they're going to take control
of congress and giveaway our country. they want to knock it down with a giant wrecking ball. >> reporter: and that's an interesting clue into how we might hear president trump talk tonight when he's here in georgia. he has been really hitting this immigration message really hard. i know beth mentioned that's something that brian kemp was messaging leveling an attack against abrams. the voters that we've been talking to outside of his rallies, we've been traveling here all week, they want to hear more of that message on immigration. when the president talks about the caravan, they're concerned about that, too. the interesting thing whrks we talk to voters who aren't at the rallies and voting republican, they're focused on more of the local issues. it's interesting for us to see if that's the case. we start talking to voters in georgia here later. >> i'll be curious to see if health care talks are a concern. >> thank you, ally from macon.
joining me now white house correspondent with "time" magazine and jonathan allen, msnbc political reporter. good morning to you both. >> tess, i'm going to start with you here. earlier in the broadcast we mentioned the survey by the washingt"washington post." but the favorability among registered voters has been narrowing since august by a few percentage points. what's behind the narrow do you think? >> trump has been doing an aggressive campaign swing throughout the country as you were talking about of the he's hosting multiple rallies. i o just got back from a trip with him where in the span of 33 hours he went to west virginia, indiana, montana and florida. that might account for some of the narrowing. what i think is interesting is that even trump seems to have internalized the polls that show the democrats have an advantage at least in the house. at multiple of the rallies trump am acknowledged the possibility that democrats might take
control. as he's going out and stumping for down ballot republican candidates and whip up republican support, he's still managing expectations among his supporters that they very well may lose the house come tuesday. >> interesting. jonathan, i know that you've written about democrats who really aren't taking the bait. they're not falling prey to the rhetoric that trump spews out there. they're refusing to address his divisive arguments. is that a winning strategy or do you think they should come back in head on? >> i guess we'll find out on tuesday, alex. i think there's a consensus among democrats that the president is out there rallying his base in such a way that it alienates not only democrats but also a lot of swing voters. even some traditional republicans, particularly we talk about them all the time, educated suburban women. if they get in a fight with him particularly on the cultural issues, there's a possibility they'll give him a way to expand the group of people he's talking
to and a possibility that voters who generally don't like the democratic leaders or democratic candidates will start to be against the positions that they're taking. they don't want to fight him on his ground. i think they believe that right now he is as good of a weapon for them or perhaps a better weapon for them than he is for his own party. >> what's interesting tessa, a lot of what you've written on how crucial creating fear has been for the president's political career. the president yesterday addressed all the criticism that's been talked about that he's diverted attention on the good things by focusing on immigration, i mean, he does have a good job support to work off of. let's listen to him. >> they tell you he's got the greatest economy. why is he talking about the border? well, you can only say so many times that we just created 250,000 jobs last month. once they say 250, they say again, 250 again and i tell you
about, i can only go for four or five minutes with that. then the crowd says we love you. and they start dwindling off. >> is he right, tessa? does his audience get bored talking about the economy? do they want to hear about immigration and caravans or is trump talking about what he wants to talk about? >> i think it's a mixture of both. the people that you see show up at his rallies definitely are really enthusiastic when he talks about the caravan and border security. you can hear the cheers from the crowd. that's a self-selecting crowd of people going to a trump rally. i think jonathan asked a key question. whether trump is focusing on these issues rather than making a more affirmative, positive case for republican leadership by touting the economy and other republican successes might be turning off other voters he needs to broaden support, moderate republicans or independents. you know, it's not clear that they're responding to his fear mongering and immigration
message as much as his core base already is. >> you know, jonathan in florida last night the president railed against the caravan of the migrants and refugees moving through mexico right now. governor rick scott is in a very tight senate race against bill nelson. hispanic voters make up 25% of florida's population. 17% of florida's registered voters. do you think florida will be an example of how the immigration rhetoric will hurt republican candidates. >> it's certainly possible, alex. florida is a state full of i am grants and full of migrants, whether you're talking about people from other countries, whether it's cuba, other parts of latin america. you know, whether you're talking about internal migrants within the united states, people moving from the northeast or the midwest to florida. so i'm not sure that that rhetoric is as helpful in florida as it might be for republican candidates in other places. let's remember, tessa made some great points about the fear
mongering. it's not just on the caravan and immigration. before that the president was talking about brett kavanaugh and the fear that mothers should have that their sons and husbands and brothers would be accused of sexual assault. before that it was a fear that the president would be impeached if democrats were to win control of congress. this has been a long running fear campaign for the president. it is major tool in his arsenal. the one that he likes to go to. really the only one that he's been going to in the runup. as you pointed out, he thinks people would fall asleep if he didn't use that. >> he's also pointed to the stock market plunging if the democrats take control of the house. he's alluded to that as well. yesterday in montana, the president was talking about women and he had this to say. >> border security is also very much a woman's issue. women want security. they want financial security. but they want security. they don't want to see -- you
saw the caravans. they don't want that caravan. >> interpret that, tessa. what does that tell you about how the president looks at women and their role in the midterms. >> trump always loves to say that he won the women's vote in 2016. that's not true. he won white women. but he did not win women overall. but he still feels very confident in women support for him and he's tying his signature issue, border security, and saying that that will be a winning issue for women. the polls don't necessarily indicate that ahead of the midterms. as i said, trump did do well with white women in 2016. but overall, women seem to be preferring democrats to take control of congress on tuesday. so he might be in for a bit of a rude awakening depending how the voting shakes out. >> 48 hours to go until we see how it shakes out. thank you both so much. president trump saying who is to blame for the rash of violence hitting the country.
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he stopped in montana and florida yesterday to energize supporters. kristen welker with a good sunday morning to you, my friend. let's get to the closing arguments. what is it? >> hi, alex. it's striking. president trump has a lot to talk about when it comes to the economy. on friday, he got a strong jobs report and he's talked about that a little bit but put the focus on immigration, on the so-called caravan that he's talked about. a lot of critics say it's fear among erg. he's disputed that claim. during the campaign stops yesterday, he said my critics want to talk more about the economy. after i say we're doing great, what else is there to say? basically acknowledging this is a ware to fire up his base. yesterday he touted the fact that troops have arrived on the border. former president obama called that a political stunt given the
fact that a lot of those migrants are still about a thousand miles away. take a listen to more of what president trump had to say yesterday. >> but i will say, these people were vicious. they broke through into mexico, throwing rocks and stones. this is the second caravan made up of some very tough young people. very tough. criminals in some cases. in many cases. they'll say, do you have proof? yeah, i have proof. they threw stones in the police's face. >> alex, the other part of president trump's strategy is targeting his base. so he is going to a lot of areas that are friendly to him to basically drive upturnout. today, he's going to be in with georgia and tennessee. worth noting, 33 million people voted early. that exceeds the total number of early voting from 2014. bottom line, voters are
energized, alex. >> energized electorate. >> thank you. that does it for me. i'm alex witt. later today i'll interview senator cam tammy baldwin. i'm ken jacobus and i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. and last year, i earned $36,000 in cash back. which i used to offer health insurance to my employees. what's in your wallet?
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