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CNN Today

Election 2000, The Last Day: 'Macomb Daily' Reporter Chad Selweski Discusses Apparent Gore Lead in Michigan Battleground

Aired November 6, 2000 - 1:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Republican candidate George W. Bush is wrapping up his campaign with in-your-face events in Tennessee, Al Gore's home state, and Arkansas, home state of President Clinton. Both states, interestingly, are in the tossup column.

At an airport hangar in Chattanooga, Bush said he too is confident but isn't taking anything for granted. He's also stumping today in Wisconsin and Iowa, two states carried by Clinton-Gore in '92 and '96. Bush's next event is being called a "victory rally" in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We'll bring that to you live beginning at 2:05 Eastern, about 35 minutes from now.

One state considered a must-win by both sides is Michigan. Both have poured huge amounts of time and money into courting Michigan's 18 electoral votes. And at the moment, the vice president appears to have a slight edge. A poll last week for the "Detroit News" found Gore supported by 46 percent of likely voters to 41 percent for Bush.

CNN's Mike Boettcher is watching the race in Macomb County just outside Detroit. He joins us now with some election eve observations -- Mike.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, despite that poll, most election observers around here say it's still too close to call. There's a lot of volatility. Vice President Gore is making yet another trip here. I believe it's his 11th since Labor Day. He will be in Flint, Michigan later this afternoon.

And this is indeed a battleground state. And we're standing in a battleground county, Macomb County. And with me is Chad Selweski, who is a reporter with the "Macomb Daily."

Chad, what is so important about Macomb County? Everyone talks about this place.

CHAD SELWESKI, "MACOMB DAILY": Well, this is a place where there's a lot of voters up for grabs. There's a lot of independents, a lot of ticket splitters, so you have a lot of people in that middle that could be swayed either way. It's kind of a tossup.

BOETTCHER: Now, it's always called the birthplace of the Reagan Democrats. Do Reagan Democrats -- does that still exist, or has that changed and transformed over the years? SELWESKI: I'm not so sure that necessarily applies anymore. Some of those people have become Republicans, some of those people have drifted more back towards that persuadable middle. And I think maybe a Reagan Democrat is a little of an out-of-date term these days.

BOETTCHER: We talked about -- excuse me -- we talked about ticket splitting that occurs here. In the presidential race, some of the pollsters say that, really, people aren't straying from their political party when it comes to Gore and Bush. Are you picking that up here in Macomb County?

SELWESKI: Yes, it seems like especially among the union members. The union members are split, and it seems to go right along party lines. If they are Democrats, they're going for Gore; Republicans, they're going for Bush; and there's not a lot in the middle as far as the union members.

BOETTCHER: Now, Sen. McCain won the primary here, the Republican primary. Has he been much help at all to Gov. Bush?

SELWESKI: No, I would say he really hasn't. They've tried to use McCain in some ways, but they really haven't done these joint appearances that could really generate some enthusiasm and catch some of the attention of those McCain voters.

BOETTCHER: Is there going to be a heavy turnout?

SELWESKI: Very heavy turnout. They're predicting in this county anywhere form 70 to 80 percent turnout.

BOETTCHER: Wow, 70 to 80 percent.

SELWESKI: Right.

BOETTCHER: Is it being fueled by local races and referendums?

SELWESKI: Local races, state ballot proposal. We had the school voucher proposal, we have a Senate race that's too close to call. It's this whole mix of issues that is generating a lot of enthusiasm. And the local elections officials are expecting a big, big turnout.

BOETTCHER: Chad Selweski with the "Macomb Daily," good luck. You'll probably be up late here, don't you think?

SELWESKI: Oh, yes, very late.

BOETTCHER: So, again, as you said earlier, that poll shows a 5 percent lead -- percentage point lead for Vice President Gore, but everyone says it's very volatile, a lot of people making up their minds late. And it's going to be a late night here, too close to call -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Mike Boettcher, thanks, from the battleground state of Michigan.

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