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Presidential Race to Be Decided by Florida Results; GOP Retains Control of House; Control of Senate Remains in DoubtAired November 7, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN election 2000 special presentation.
Election day: the day to choose a new president for a new century.
At the start of the last century, democracy was staggered by assassination, but the system endured and matured, through the Great War, the Great Depression and more war, some of it hot and horrifying, and one of them cold and terrifying. Through a pivotal decade of redefinition and deep division, at home and abroad. Through executive scandal and the confusing contrast of tragedy and triumph, and into a final decade, both prosperous and notorious.
Today, America is again forging its future by choosing the man to lead it into the 21st century.
This is CNN's coverage of election 2000. Now, from the election desk, here are Judy Woodruff, Bernard Shaw, Jeff Greenfield, and Bill Schneider.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to viewers around the world, watching on CNN International. Thank you for joining us as we begin what promises to be a remarkable and a suspenseful evening.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: As voting continues literally at this hour and across the nation, there is every indication that George W. Bush and Al Gore are indeed locked in a presidential race that may be too close to call for hours.
Jeff Greenfield, our senior analyst, this is the kind of election those of us who love politics have been living for.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: If you've ever wanted, Judy, and folks out there, if you've ever longed for those nights when -- that you've heard about when people waited late to find out who their leader was, pull up a chair, this may be it.
If you want to know how tight this presidential race is, you have only to know this. This afternoon, the Al Gore campaign dispatched Reverend Jesse Jackson to Pennsylvania at this hour to try to increase the turnout among core Democratic constituencies. They asked Senator Ted Kennedy to dispatch a hundred of his advisers and supporters, union people, labor activists, environmentalists up across the border to New Hampshire, where that race is apparently so tight.
The presidential race, we are hearing, Senate race after Senate race, we simply do not know. It's an election like we haven't seen in decades.
SHAW: And Bill Schneider, people are leaving the polling booths. How can we characterize some of the things they're saying?
SCHNEIDER: Well, I think we can say that voters in this election, it's very unusual, they're very two-minded. They are of two minds.
You know, in any election in this country, usually one of two themes dominates. Either people say we've never had it so good or they say it's time for a change. What's really rare for people to believe both, and they do. They believe they've never had it so good. Their financial situation is good. They've never seen an economy this good. On the other hand, they want a change of leadership, a change of leadership but not a change of direction.
And I think it all stems from their views of Bill Clinton, the president. He gets a very high job rating, which ought to elect Al Gore, but a very low personal approval rating. So people want to change of leadership.
SHAW: Feels like a long night.
WOODRUFF: All right. Well, Al Gore and George W. Bush, speaking of the candidates of the major parties, are right now at their home bases in Tennessee and in Texas. They are waiting for the election results to roll in.
Our John King is with the Gore campaign in Nashville, Candy Crowley is with the Bush camp in Austin.
Let's go to John King first.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, no rest for the vice president this afternoon. Despite a 30-hour campaign marathon finale, he is here at a hotel in Tennessee. Aides frantically working the phones, checking in with operatives in key battleground states, heartened by what they hear in some, discouraged by what they hear in others.
As all this plays out, a man who has spent the last 24 years in federal public office waiting and watching for the results here in his home state of Tennessee.
KING (voice-over): District eight, precinct one, Elmwood, Tennessee: Count one for Al Gore. Make that two.
TIPPER GORE, AL GORE'S WIFE: I voted for my husband, Al Gore. How's that? And it was a thrill. It was wonderful. It was very exciting. KING: It was a signature day in the life: the son of a legendary Tennessee senator born to be president, his father once said, looking for one last promotion after eight years in the House, eight in the Senate, and eight as the vice president.
It is tradition for Mr. Gore to speak to the Forks River School students after voting, and this year was both no different and very different all at once. Same playful smalltalk.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's part of what freedom is all about. You can pick anybody you want to.
What kind of person do you want to pick?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friend.
KING: A much bigger audience.
GORE: Would you all like to wave to them? All right, now, wait a second. Let's do it on -- let's do it on three. One, two, three.
KING: That Tennessee's support was in question said it all: Mr. Gore voiced confidence he would win the White House, but aides acknowledged there was little room for error in their electoral strategy.
Caffeine was in order after campaigning all night. This Tampa reunion with running mate Joe Lieberman the final offensive in the fight for Florida and its 25 electoral votes.
GORE: This is the last official stop of campaign 2000.
It's not an accident that it's here in Tampa, it's not an accident that it's in West Central Florida, because Florida may very well be the state that decides the outcome of this election.
KING: We win Florida and we win period was the view of the Gore camp. This 1:00 a.m. rally in South Beach Miami complete with Hollywood luminaries and oceanside fireworks: and one last bid to frame the nation's choice.
GORE: I remember well the deficits and the debt, the unemployment and the higher crime, family breakups and the repeat recessions. Thank you for giving me and Bill Clinton a chance to bring some economic change to America, and because of that we now have a stronger economy.
KING: If Florida goes Republican, the vice president would need to win most of the remaining late-campaign battlegrounds: Washington and Oregon in the West; Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia in the heartland. Turnout was the focus in the frantic final hours: African- American support in places like Flint, Michigan is critical. The muscle organized labor flexes in an unprecedented turnout drive, the biggest weapon for the Democrats across the Midwestern battlegrounds.
KING: Now, the vice president with some help from the boss, President Clinton, working the phones, calling radio shows deep into the afternoon, trying to encourage turnout, especially among African- Americans. We're also told by sources in the labor movement, organized labor has redirected several major national phone banks into the state of Pennsylvania looking perhaps to redirect resources into several other Midwestern states as well.
Everyone here expecting this race will be very tight to the end. The vice president himself predicting we may not know the winner until some time Wednesday -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John, and we're going to ask you to stand by right now, because we want to go to Candy Crowley, who has been covering this entire year the Bush campaign.
Right now, she is in Austin -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, George Bush got up this morning after what he called five hours of solid sleep and did his morning routine. He made coffee and took it to his wife, and then as he said, talked to the pets. After that, there is really little else to do at this point, except what millions of other Americans are doing.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, same address. Hopefully soon to change.
CROWLEY (voice-over): George and Laura Bush of Austin, Texas voted Tuesday, just another couple of voters, albeit with a vested interest.
BUSH: Tina, this is George W. Bush calling from Austin, Texas. Yeah, only in America.
Well, thank you. Listen, I'm calling -- part of my hopes is that as many people as possible will vote. Obviously, I hope they for me, and I'm calling to urge you to get to the polls today.
CROWLEY: One candidate, one voter, an intimate final effort in a campaign that began with soaring poll numbers and great confidence 17 months ago, and ended last night with tight poll numbers and great confidence.
BUSH: If people do what I think they're going to do, you're looking at the next president of the United States.
CROWLEY: Despite the bravado, the schedule over the last 48 hours reflected a major worry: Florida, home of Governor Jeb Bush.
BUSH: And when he looked me in the eye and said Florida is going to be Bush-Cheney country, I believe him.
We're traveling to your big state today with one message: Let's get out the vote.
CROWLEY: Most experts can't figure a victory for the Republican nominee that doesn't include Florida. Bush strategists say otherwise, but the fact they spent 24 of the last 48 hours there tells you something.
Monday, Bush's itinerary reached into four states that have not voted Republican since Ronald Reagan. The journey was book-ended by stops as symbolic as they were electorally significant: Tennessee, Al Gore's home state, and George Bush's last stop of campaign 2000, Bill Clinton's Arkansas.
BUSH: And we're here to declare we're going to carry Arkansas tomorrow.
CROWLEY: The visit represented the fondest hopes of a campaign that in the end believes it fought the good fight.
BUSH: I believe -- you know, I believe we've poured our hearts and souls in this campaign. The organization here in Austin and around the country have worked hard, and the people -- the people are going to decide. And I trust the people, I trust their will, I trust their wisdom.
CROWLEY: At this point, the word those closest to Bush used to describe his mood is serene. "Look," said one of his closest friend, "he's a competitor, and if he should lose -- we don't think he will -- but if he should, he's not going to like it but he is serene and he will accept that" -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy, I want to ask both you and John a question. John, to you first. You said that the people around Mr. Gore are heartened by some news they're getting, discouraged by others; you want to share that with us?
KING: Well, Judy, they're checking in with operatives in key states. Again, organized labor the key engine of Democratic turnout. They're looking at the states Candy just mentioned -- the vice president is focused on. If the vice president wins Florida he believes that gives him a cushion to lose one or two states that might be considered reliably Democratic but have been battlegrounds this year -- look at West Virginia, look at Missouri, look at Iowa, look at Wisconsin. Those are the biggest worries in the Gore campaign.
They believe they've solidified things on the West Coast. Oregon still a bit of a worry, but I think California and Washington are in the bag. But they're worried, now, if they lose even these 11 electoral votes right here in Tennessee that they have to make them up elsewhere. Losing states like Iowa and Wisconsin that voted for Clinton-Gore twice could be devastating. We started this campaign saying the big battlegrounds would decide it; we might end it looking at some of the very small states making the difference.
That's what the campaign is worried about, even now still pouring resources into some of those states -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And conversely, Candy, as you talk to the people around Governor Bush, what is on their mind, what are they worried about?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, they're watching turnout. They think it's, obviously, key, as the Gore camp does. They're watching some of the key states, but you've got to believe they are zeroed in on Florida. They believe they can put together a victory without Florida, but it will be a whole heck of a lot easier for them if they have Florida in the bag. I think that's the one that worries them most. That and Michigan they're also keeping an eye on.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy and John; and we're going to be coming back to both of you throughout this long night. So thank you both and be braced for a long one -- Bernie.
SHAW: Voter turnout key to this election. Coming up, we will visit precincts in three crucial states. And, we're going to talk with Kweisi Mfume and Pat Robertson.
WOODRUFF: Turnout has been cited as one of the keys to today's election. And with that in mind, we are going to touch base now with our reporters at precincts in three key states.
Maria Hinojosa is in New York, Jeff Flock is in Aurora, Illinois, and Greg LaMotte in Rancho Mirage, California.
Let's begin with Maria in New York.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, turnout has been steady since 6:00 a.m. Eastern time here in this polling place in the basement of a school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where most of the voters we've seen today have been voters of color, Latinos, African-Americans and some immigrants, first-time voters.
Now both the Democrats and the Republicans say that they are closely watching the turnout of people of color. In several key battleground states, African-American voters make up anywhere from 10- 30 percent of the electorate, and Democrats say they could swing those states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Here in New York, we spoke to some voters of color, who told us their reasons for who they voted for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need them to be a Democrat to be re- elected. It's very important for a lot of minority people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I generally believe in the Republican, conservative philosophy of self-help and self-reliance. And I feel that it is in Latin people's best interest to vote that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the people in my building in particular are voting for Al Gore, because they're scared that George Bush would just take away their Social Security. A lot of these people are older immigrants from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, from the Caribbean, and they don't know anything about investing their money or just things like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HINOJOSA: And also the Latino vote being watched closely by the Democrats and the Republican, the Republicans saying they want 30 percent nationally, Democrats saying they'll take the majority.
That's it for the East Coast. For a look at what's happening on the Midwest, we go to my colleague Jeff Flock in Aurora, Illinois.
JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Maria, Precinct 4, Ward 1, downtown Aurora, Illinois. This is the heavy Republican Cane County, where the Cane County clerk tells CNN the turnout is pegged between at 80 and 85 percent. Obviously, the question is where will the turnout be: Republican or Democratic counties?
We also asked voters as they came away from the polls today how they made up their minds?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I kept hoping that there would be some point in time in which something would be said, something would happen that would make it very clear to me which direction was the best fit for me. And that really never happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seemed as if the Bush party, the Republican party, was so focused on money. So I asked myself, if I had an extra $10,000 to an extra $100,000, what difference would it make in my life and what difference would it make that other people wouldn't have some public policies cut or public services cut?
And I said, well, I can certainly go without the money. And I'm sure other people could not go with some of the benefits that they are receiving. In the outcome, I went with the Democratic Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP) FLOCK: The Lake County clerk tells me that already in talking to some of the campaigns, some of the campaigns report that already over 100 percent of their likely voters have already voted. That means that all of these polls that are based on likely voters may be just out the window, and we may have a race that is truly up for grabs.
We'll continue to watch it. That is the latest from Aurora, Illinois.
Now on out to the West Coast, where Greg LaMotte is standing by -- Greg.
GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jeff, voters here in Riverside County, California, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, are getting a chance to literally touch the future when it comes to voting. Touch-screen voting booths have been installed throughout the county for the 600,000 registered voters here. It is extraordinarily simple. No pencils, no punch cards, no paper ballots, only your finger.
It starts off right over here, where voters come in. They register with the registrar's table right here. They are handed a card that looks very similar to a bank card. They take that card that you see being handed right there, and eventually they will walk over here to these touch-screen voting booths.
What you do with that card that she was handed is you slide into this slot right here. Up on the screen pops the list of candidates and any propositions that may be involved in the election. You press them, you push that you want to vote, and you are done. There is even an area where you can write in candidates names.
This is the largest election in U.S. history using electronic touch-screen voting, and the people using these touch screens really seem to like them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was fabulous, very easy to read, especially for older people. If you don't -- I didn't even have to put my glasses on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was fast; it was rapid and I was prepared. If I hadn't been prepared, I think it may have been a little confusing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I thought it was a good innovation. It's easy to use, straight-forward, and if you come prepared it's very quick.
LAMOTTE: The voter registrar here in the county says he will cut in half the time that it takes to tally all of the votes -- Bernie.
SHAW: OK, thank you very much.
Joining us now, Christian Coalition President Pat Robertson; he's with us from Virginia Beach, Virginia. We had hoped to have Kweisi Mfume, the president and CEO of the NAACP from Baltimore -- we're looking forward to talking to him a little bit later in this hour.
Reverend Robertson, what kind of muscle and money have you poured into this get-out-the-vote effort?
PAT ROBERTSON, PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN COALITION: Bernie, it's unprecedented what we've done. It's probably double to even triple anything we've ever done in the past. We have distributed 70 million voter guides that have on the first page the presidential issues, 14 of them; and on the back, the key congressional or Senate races in the respective states. In addition, we've got 5 million voter guides going out to the Hispanic community in Spanish; and then we're making 1 million telephone calls.
For example, in Oregon we've made 100,000 calls to those people who have not votes. They're voting by mail in Oregon and, so, we had a list of people who hadn't yet voted. So it was a get-out-the-vote call. So it's unprecedented for us.
SHAW: On these voter guides, have you put to rest people's criticism from some quarters that you're violating campaign law.
ROBERTSON: Well, two judges that, Bernie -- one judge ruled against the FEC, very clearly. Judge Joyce Green in Washington, and then a federal district judge in Norfolk ruled against the IRS. We sued the IRS and in both cases won decisive victories. And so there's no question that these things are totally in conformity with the election laws and within the Internal Revenue Service code.
SHAW: Is there any anti-Clinton feeling propelling your folks to the polls today?
ROBERTSON: Bernie, I don't think there's any question about it. The overriding issue for the religious community is the moral climate of our nation, and the things that have happened in the White House are repugnant to them. I think that many people admire Clinton for his brilliance in government. But nevertheless, the personal life is repugnant.
I think beyond that there are several other issues that are driving them, but I would say the whole concept of big government, the excess spending, the waste in Washington is a major factor. And as one of the respondents said on your program just earlier, that the whole concept of individual initiative versus government solutions to problems -- these are major issues for us.
SHAW: Now let's go to the ground in the battleground states. Exactly what are you doing, even at this hour, in places such as Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri?
ROBERTSON: I visited Missouri three times. Just a few days ago I was in Springfield, I was in St. Louis I was in Kansas City with major rallies. We have, I think -- if my memory serves me right -- a million and a half voter guides going out in Missouri. We have a significant effort in Michigan going on. There are people at the polls right now and they've been passing out voter guides.
We had, I was out Sunday in Arkansas, I think Arkansas is going to be a key state. And we have a significant effort in Arkansas, also Tennessee; and it seems like, to me, these states, these little states that we never thought too much about may hold the key to this election. Tennessee...
SHAW: Indeed they might.
ROBERTSON: ... Arkansas, Missouri. We have been active in all of them.
SHAW: Well thanks very much, Reverend Robertson, for joining us. It's going to be a long night.
ROBERTSON: It sure will.
SHAW: And later on we hope to hear from Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, that's two folks, now, who have said the little states may make a difference. We've got a lot to look for tonight.
Well, just ahead, the balance of power on Capitol Hill. Wolf Blitzer with the key races in the fight for control of the House and the Senate.
SHAW: We said later this hour we'd be talking to Kweisi Mfume, the president and CEO of the NAACP. The time has come, he joins us now from Baltimore.
What can you tell us about your get-out-the-vote effort at this hour?
KWEISI MFUME, NAACP PRESIDENT: Well, Bernie, it's a huge success by every indication that we have, and we've looked at precincts and polling places in every region across America and throughout the larger black community, it seems that it has worked and it's working in a way that may even exceed our wildest expectations. We have put 18 months of hard work into a large educative process. We spent months registering people, now we're in the days of this GOTV campaign and have spent almost $12 million in the process. It's a very, very serious election for African Americans and for all Americans, quite frankly, for many reason; not the least of which is the fate of the Supreme Court as a result of the next president.
SHAW: Are you, by chance, getting hourly reports from around the country?
MFUME: We are.
SHAW: What are they telling you about percentages of turnout?
MFUME: Well, percentages are running as high as 80 percent in some areas to about 65 percent in other areas; but one thing seems to be clear and holding throughout this pattern is that, in every instance, it's a significantly higher turnout than was the case four years ago in the previous election.
SHAW: And what does that tell you?
MFUME: It tells me that people are energized; that they believe that their vote will make a difference, which is very, very good; and they're prepared to stand up and not necessarily be talked about by pundits and pollsters about what they will do or what they won't do. People seem to be coming out to say, look, this is about me, it's about my future, it's about what I believe in and so I'm going to participate.
And the interesting thing about that is as stewards of this democracy we all have that responsibility. So when we see turnout like this it's heartening and it's encouraging and we believe also, quite frankly, that, at the end of the day, it will make a significant impact on the outcome.
SHAW: Why did some people have the impression that the Republicans had a more energized base turning out than the Democrats in the closing weeks of this campaign?
MFUME: I don't know. I think people were talking a good game. Our work at the NAACP was to wait for Election Day and to use all of our energy there to make sure that we did the GOTV campaigning that we needed. There is energy among Republicans, we don't doubt that. I think many sense that this is a chance for them to win back the White House and to hold the Congress.
But we believe, quite frankly, that with large numbers of people turning out in black communities and Latino communities in particular, in union households and other places throughout the community and throughout the nation that that overtakes that enthusiasm with an enthusiasm that has its own distinction. The other thing is that most of the polls have been measuring likely voters. Our effort for 18 months was to go after the unlikely voter, and we believe it is that unlikely voter that will make the difference today.
SHAW: Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP, thanks joining us. We'll see you later on.
MFUME: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And beyond the presidential race, the key question in the election is which party will control the House and the Senate? Wolf Blitzer, will be keeping tabs on the balance of power throughout this night and let's go to you now, -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Judy. Not only is there an extremely close race for the presidency, this is also the first time since 1948 when control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives all have been legitimately up for grabs on election day. Republicans currently control both the House and the Senate but by relatively slim margins, which could become even slimmer by the time all the votes are counted.
And there are 34 Senate races on the ballot this year. Republicans are defending 19 seats, the Democrats 15, with several just too close to call. Let's take a look at two of the races which could tip the balance of power in the Senate.
In Virginia, Democratic Senator Chuck Robb is fighting hard for a third term against the former popular Republican governor George Allen. And in Michigan, Spencer Abraham the Republican incumbent, is seeking a second term in a very tight race with a Democratic challenger, Debbie Stabenow.
Joining us to talk about this, Stuart Rothenberg. You'll be with us throughout the entire evening. This Senate contest is critical right now.
STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Wolf, it's all about pick-ups, about gains and losses, and in Virginia, as you mentioned, Chuck Robb, a Democratic Senator, is having a very difficult race against Republican George Allen. He's somewhat of a underdog. The Democrats really need to hold this if they're going to take over the Senate.
And in Michigan, Spence Abraham has had a lead, at least he did a few weeks ago, but Democratic challenger Debbie Stabenow is coming on strong. This race is a toss-up.
BLITZER: All right, in -- as happens, of course, every two years, there are 435 seats up for grabs in the House of Representatives. Republicans currently hold a 13-seat majority. But with some three dozen races too close to call, this could be a long night. Stu, let's take a look at two of the races that potentially could have an impact. In South Florida, for example, long-time incumbent Clay Shaw, Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Elaine Bloom. And in Connecticut, Republican Robert Simmons is challenging the Democrat Sam Gejdenson. He's been in Congress for almost 20 years.
ROTHENBERG: Well, Shaw is one of a number of Republican incumbents who are facing difficult races. In order to maintain control of the House, the Republicans need to hold onto Clay Shaw's district and number of other GOP incumbents. And in Connecticut, you mentioned Sam Gejdenson. This race was not on the radar screen a couple of months ago, but local issues and an attractive Republican challenger, Robert Simmons, a state legislator, could prove Sam Gejdenson's downfall.
BLITZER: All right, Stu, thanks. Back to you, Bernie.
SHAW: We'll be back to you many, many more times and oftener.
Just one half hour until the first poll closings in Indiana and Kentucky. Ahead, we're going to offer some tips on what to look for hour-by-hour this evening. Plus: the seven "keys" to Election 2000. We're also tracking state ballot measures. Please logon to cnn.com for results throughout the night.
WOODRUFF: Just 25 minutes until the first polls close in the states of Kentucky and Indiana. We're all sitting here eagerly awaiting those first real results, states that we can call.
Bill Schneider, we just heard Kweisi Mfume, the head of the NAACP, say, you know, you all have been talking about likely voters all along. We've been targeting the unlikely voters. Who are these people and why haven't we been talking about them?
SHAW: Who are these people?
SCHNEIDER: Well, if they're unlikely to vote, we usually say we're not going to be real interested in what they have to say because they're unlikely to vote. But that's what both sides are doing. The gun owners, The National Rifle Association, the Christian Coalition, and NAACP, the union, they're looking for people who you really can't rely on to vote. If this election is flooded with unlikely voters, people who rarely vote, then all bets are off and all of those polls could be very misleading and pollsters are going to have a lot of explaining to do.
OK, welcome to CNN Election Night 2000. I will be your guide. Now here are the stories we'll be reporting, hour-by-hour, as the night goes on.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): 6:00 p.m., Eastern: the first polls close in Indiana and Kentucky, 20 electoral votes at stake. Keep an eye on Kentucky. It's voted for the winner in every election since 1964.
In the 7:00 p.m., Eastern hour: polls close in nine more states -- Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. Total: 106 electoral votes. The big prize: Florida, with 25 electoral votes.
Florida also has an important Senate race where the GOP candidate, Representative Bill McCollum, was one of the House impeachment managers. We'll see if there's any lingering residue of the impeachment controversy. Another big Senate race in Virginia, where Charles Robb is the most vulnerable Democrat running for re- election this year. Ohio is crucial for Bush. No Republican has ever been elected president without carrying Ohio, a state that went for Clinton twice.
The 8:00 hour could be the deciding point in the election. Polls close in 17 states and the District of Columbia -- 208 electoral votes. Three crucial battleground states: Michigan, will unions deliver for Gore? Pennsylvania: will the state's conservative leanings on abortion and gun rights hurt Gore? Missouri, will this bellwether state vote for the winner in 2000? Missouri's bizarre Senate race pits Republican Senator John Ashcroft against the recent deceased Democratic governor Mel Carnahan. If Carnahan wins, his widow will take the seat. Can a dead Democrat defeat Senator Ashcroft?
Texas and Tennessee also close at 8:00. Texas looks like a big win for Bush, but Tennessee is no sure thing for Gore. Gore could become the first candidate who fails to carry his home state since George McGovern in 1972.
At 9:00 p.m., Eastern, 12 more states come in, another 102 electoral votes, including the battleground states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Will Ralph Nader take enough votes from Gore to put those two historically liberal states in the GOP column? But the headline in the 9:00 Eastern hour will be New York -- Senate, not president. Will Hillary Rodham Clinton become the first lady who overreached or the first lady who made it on her own?
At 10:00 p.m., Eastern: 23 more electoral votes come in from Iowa -- that's a battleground state -- and a number of western states. At 11:00 p.m., Eastern: the big enchilada comes in -- California -- with 54 electoral votes. California's expected to go for Gore, but Bush hopes to put Ronald Reagan's state back in the GOP column, where it was for almost 50 years before it became Clinton country. Also Oregon and Washington, two more West Coast battleground states where Nader voters will play a key role.
One more big Senate race in Washington state, where incumbent Republican Slade Gorton is facing a self-financed, multimillionaire who happens to be a woman, Internet executive Maria Cantwell. We'll be looking to see if the gender gap plays a decisive role in that race and all over the country. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then election 2000 could end up being the latest installment of "Star Wars."
SCHNEIDER: Now, by 12:00 midnight Eastern time, only Alaska is left with three electoral votes. You know, it's kind of chilly up there in November, but not to worry, because if this race is as close as it looks right now, at the midnight hour we may still be counting ballots in Florida.
WOODRUFF: But we're always happy to think about Alaska while we're doing it. All right, Jeff Greenfield, we've heard Bill Schneider's election guide, if you will, and you've been thinking about what the keys are to this election.
GREENFIELD: Yes, we're going to try to answer some questions tonight, not just about where the votes came from, but maybe why. We call them the seven keys to the presidency, and we'll be revisiting them throughout the night.
First, big government. As you heard Pat Robertson say, the Republicans are trying to make an issue that Al Gore is the big government man. Al Gore is trying to argue that George Bush would undermine popular government programs like Social Security and Medicare. We're going to try to figure out where the voters were on that.
Two, the gender gap. Now, men always vote more Republican than woman. The question is which candidate keeps the gender gap narrow on his side and widens it on the other. If women vote for Bush more than they normally do in Democratic -- in Republican areas, I'm sorry, Bush has a very good night ahead of them.
Three, the social issues. The Gore campaign had argued months ago that the environment and gun control and abortion would play for them. It may be that in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan and West Virginia issues like guns and the environment will work against Al Gore. We're going to find out.
Four, was it the economy, stupid? You already heard Bill Schneider explain that the public seems to like the economy, but may also be worried about noneconomic issues. Which of these two strains dominated, if either? That's one other question we're going to try answer, and in some cases, on a state-by-state basis, if we can.
Five, the Clinton factor. Once again, Mr. Schneider has cued us on this. Clinton, high job approval ratings, low personal approval ratings. Were the voters looking for a change or are they looking to keep the Clinton administration philosophy going?
Six, the Nader factor. In Wisconsin, in Minnesota, perhaps in Washington or Oregon, could it be that this third party candidate will take enough votes to defeat Al Gore, and will he get the 5 percent needed to become a federally funded party four years hence?
And finally, what kind of leader is the country looking for? If it's experience, that speaks well to Al Gore. If it's leadership, if it's amiability, if it's personality, that speaks well to George W. Bush.
And as I say, throughout this evening, we're going to be revisiting these questions as the exit polls and the votes come in.
And Bernie, we think if we get the answers to these question, we might know who the president is. But I'll tell you something, if it's as close as it looks now, we could still answer these question and say your guess is as good as ours.
SHAW: Indeed, very much so. Well, we're going to stand down for just a moment, a brief moment, and when we come back, we're going to hear from the former White House press secretary for President Clinton, Joe Lockhart, and Scott Reed, the man who managed Bob Dole's campaign in '96. More from CNN in Atlanta in a moment.
WOODRUFF: Now, let's hear from two men who know what it's like to be campaign insiders on election day. We're joined by Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary for President Clinton and Scott Reed, Bob Dole's campaign manager in the 1996 election.
Gentlemen, you both are very well plugged in. I know you are both talking to people. In Scott's case, in the Bush campaign, and certainly in Joe's case, in the Gore campaign.
What are you hearing? And what's going on, for example, with deploying Jesse Jackson to Pennsylvania at this late hour, Joe?
JOE LOCKHART, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think it's a reflection of just how much, how little people know at this point about how this is all going to turn out and just how tight it is. And I think on election day, people who are generally type A personalities, running around, have nothing to do. So, if you can find something to do, if you can deploy people out to states, if you can call in to radio stations, if nothing else, it keeps you busy and it makes you feel like you are doing something.
WOODRUFF: So, what are we doing? just spinning our wheels? Is that's what's going on, Scott?
SCOTT REED, DOLE '96 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I don't know about that. I mean, Republicans are very upbeat and optimistic about this election. They feel Bush has run a very smart campaign. He is finishing strong. He had a good strong finish into Texas last night, going both to Texas, I mean, to Arkansas and Tennessee. And Republicans believe that he has asked for a mandate. a mandate to lead with some very specific issues and we are very excited about tonight. Also in the Congress, a lot of excitement there.
WOODRUFF: Joe, we hear Scott saying that Governor Bush has run a very smart campaign. But are there some Democrats who question whether going to Arkansas, going to Tennessee, maybe overreaching on his part?
How do you read this?
LOCKHART: I actually think he ran -- he overall has run a smart campaign. But I think he finished rather badly. He was pushed off course by the drunk driving revelation. And I think over the weekend, he got more partisan and personal and he sort of walked away from the issues that he had run on, which was he was different.
I think going to Arkansas and Tennessee, he looked a little cocky, he looked a little as sort of the in-your-face politics that people have turned off to and that he made a case against. So, I think Al Gore has finished very strongly. It has charged up the base. And I think Governor Bush, after running a smart campaign, finished kind of slowly.
WOODRUFF: Scott, I am assuming you don't see it that way, these last few days.
REED: No, I don't quite see it that way. Again, Bush has talked about issues throughout this whole campaign. He had huge crowds in Tennessee and Arkansas. I don't know, if Tennessee is Gore's home state or if Washington, D.C. is his home state, but either way, finishing in those states, it looks like we are going to win these culturally conservative states that are going to move towards Bush, I believe, because of Bill Clinton. That's the thing to watch tonight. Watch a lot of these states like West Virginia, Iowa. These are states where I think there is going to be a Clinton factor that's going to be a little bit of a shadow and a hangover for Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: Joe, what about the Clinton factor? How much is that going to hurt Al Gore tonight?
LOCKHART: I think that the Republicans love to talk about Bill Clinton because they can't talk about the economy. They can't talk about how great the last eight years have been. This is not about Bill Clinton. It's about Al Gore and George Bush. And that's what the country is making a decision on. And I think Al Gore over the last week has come under some criticism, but he has played it about right, which is Bill Clinton went and tried to energize the particular parts of the base. But in the battleground states, Al Gore went out and said this is about me and George Bush, make a decision. And I think he is going to do quite well tonight.
GREENFIELD: Folks, it's Jeff Greenfield. Just for a minute, put aside the partisan hats.
Joe, Scott, Joe first, if Gore loses, what will the Democrats blame him most for?
Same question to you, Scott, if Bush loses.
LOCKHART: I think if Gore loses, the Democrats will look at not taking as much advantage of the prosperous times we are living in. And that will somehow get tied up in how the president was used and wasn't used. I think you can make a case for earlier in the year them not getting it exactly right. Although, but I think in the last week, Gore was right to make this about Al Gore and not the president.
GREENFIELD: OK, Scott, that was an honest answer from Joe. How about yourself? If Bush loses, who gets blamed?
REED: I think if Bush loses, there will be some questions about their electoral strategy. That it may have been spread a little too thin. They were dealt a hand of cards that had a lot of opportunities and a lot of nontraditional Republican states. They have very aggressively gone after them, including the whole West Coast. But at the end of the day, they may have stretched themselves a little too thin. I don't believe they did, but that is one piece of possible criticism.
WOODRUFF: All right, Scott Reed, Joe Lockhart, thank you both. And we hope to see you soon -- Bernie.
SHAW: As we await the first poll closings, we'll check in with David Peeler for a look at the strategy and final counts in the ad wars.
Plus, to join the realtime spin chat room, please log on to CNN.com. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHNEIDER: Coming up at top of the hour, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, the election 2000 count begins, as the first polls in the country close in Indiana and Kentucky.
Holding 20 electoral votes between them, Indiana has voted Democratic only once in the past 60 years, when it supported Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
And Kentucky may be considered a bellwether state. It has voted for presidential winners for the past 36 years. Will the state that hosts the run for the roses continue its winning streak in such a close run for the White House? The night is early. Stay tuned.
SHAW: Joining us now, a familiar personage on INSIDE POLITICS, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting. He tracks ad spending in the top 75 markets.
David, what was different about the ad spending in this election?
DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, Bernie, I think there's a couple things that are of note. You know, we've talked about both Bush and the RNC combining to spend $85 million versus Gore and the DNC $64 million and Ralph Nader $1 million.
But I think here the story is really a couple of things. One, you know, this is the first race that we've seen where the candidates went on air as early as they did. Both parties did, both candidates did.
I think the second thing that stands out is that there used to be a line between what was party-funded advertising and what was individual candidate advertising. That line has been all but erased now. I mean, you really can't tell the difference between the two at this point in the race.
And I think media is always about tactics. You know, it's always been about the swing states. That's where the media dollars go.
What we have seen this year is some surprising things. We've seen, for example, the Bush campaign spend $11 million uncontested in the state of California. Al Gore and the DNC didn't spend a dime in California, and the Bush campaign spent quite a bit.
I think as we've gotten down to the last couple of weeks here, we've seen two different tactics emerge. We've seen Bush try to stay on three or four messages and try to get that out on a national came. I think we've seen Al Gore and the DNC take their themes, but try and do a state-by-state individual media tactics. So, that is what's different from a presidential front.
Moving onto the Senate races, I think we're seeing the effect of the wealth effect come into play here. The new thing now is the self- financed candidate. We saw Jon Corzine, who we spoke about yesterday, spend $31 million in the general election on top of $30 million in the primary. Maria Cantwell has spend $5.5 million in the state of Washington. Mark Dayton of the Dayton-Hudson family, $4.5 million, and much of that of their own money.
So it's clearly -- the state, the Senate races continue to get more and more expensive to run, and you're seeing more and more self- financed candidates.
Moving onto the House races, what's of interest here is last cycle we joked about independent groups and we talked about the parties ultimately spending more than the candidates. Well, this cycle it's happened.
For example, in California, in the 36, we see Representative Kuykendall spending $760,000 but the party adding in $1.3 against Jane Harman's $900,000 and the Democratic Party $820,000.
So, clearly, we've seen a shift. It's an awful lot of money being spent by individual groups as well as the parties.
SHAW: OK, thank you, David Peeler -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And we are literally three minutes away from the polls closing in the first states tonight, Indiana and Kentucky. We're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to try and call those elections.
WOODRUFF: It is 6 o'clock on the East Coast. The polls have closed in two states, Indiana and Kentucky, and CNN is able to make its first call of the night. In Indiana, George W. Bush the winner in a state that has only voted Democratic for president once in 60 years. In the state of Kentucky, something of a bellwether state, voted for the winning presidential candidate every year since 1964, another win for George W. Bush.
Looking at the electoral map, it is still very early. But putting these two states together, 20 electoral votes tallied up under the name of governor -- Texas Governor George W. Bush.
Jeff Greenfield, our first calls of the night, and so far pretty much what we've expected.
GREENFIELD: Yes, I think it may be worth pointing out that Clinton did carry Kentucky twice. Clinton and Gore both hale from border states, and you might have thought that would have given Gore a leg up in Kentucky. This may be one of those states where the environment, where cultural conservatism cut against Al Gore as it did not against Bill Clinton.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, the man with all the polls, what are voters saying as they leave?
SCHNEIDER: Well, we asked the voters of Kentucky, which Clinton carried twice, what was the one quality that mattered most to you when you decided how to vote for president. And that quality was honest and trustworthy. And the voters in Kentucky who cited that quality went overwhelmingly for George W. Bush: 82 percent to just 16 percent for Al Gore.
Now, another quality we asked people about was understands complex issues. People who said they wanted a candidate who understands complex issues went overwhelmingly for Al Gore. But what's interesting is three times as many voters said they were interested in someone who's honest and trustworthy than said they were interested in someone who understands complex issues. And that's the key to Kentucky going for George W. Bush.
SHAW: And thinking overall about what's happening across this great country of ours, this thing presidentially, in terms of the race for the White House, is just like this?
SCHNEIDER: That's right, absolutely, because people see qualities in Bush that they like and some that they have doubts about, and they see the same thing about Al Gore. They wonder about his credibility, but they think he has the knowledge and experience. So they are of two minds about the candidates.
GREENFIELD: And Bill, you have already, I'm sorry, just early given us answer to one of these keys to the presidency. We're asking what kind of leader do Americans want. At least in the state of Kentucky, there is no question that they want somebody whose character matters more to them than the experience. And this is the kind of thing, I think, that will be very helpful throughout the night.
WOODRUFF: I think it's also fair to say that in Kentucky the voters are saying they don't want a president with the views on tobacco that Al Gore has. This is a state that relies heavily for its economy on tobacco as a crop. We know that Al Gore has throughout his career, at least after a certain point, made a big issue out of meting government regulation in the last year or so. He was for the government stepping in and regulating cigarettes, nicotine and cigarettes.
SCHNEIDER: Though he once talked about having been a tobacco farmer, at one point.
SHAW: And during the vice presidential debate there in Danville, Kentucky, the tobacco farmers in that area, near horse country, indicated that generally they favored the governor from Texas.
GREENFIELD: And yet, Clinton, who was anti-tobacco, carried the state in '96. Gore couldn't do it. It's another one of those cases where they may be holding Gore to a different standard than they held Clinton.
SCHNEIDER: But Clinton carried it by the narrowest margin he carried in 1996. So if George Bush was going to win, he had to take Kentucky if he has any chance of winning. Well, he took it.
WOODRUFF: We were also told that his environmental positions hurt him in Kentucky. This is a state where there are a number of auto-producing plants, some of them owned by companies outside the country. In his book "Earth in the Balance," he writes about the end of the internal combustion engine. That's a very important component of the automobile, and that's something that didn't go over well in that state.
SHAW: Wolf -- pardon me, Judy. Wolf Blitzer standing by as he will be throughout the night to bring us up to date on the balance of power. Wolf also has a governor's race to call -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, let's take a look at the Senate first. No great surprise, Richard Lugar, the Republican incumbent in Indiana, he easily defeats his Democratic challenger, David Johnson, attorney, former legislative counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar once again wins.
Let's take a look at the balance of power in the Senate. No change right now. The Republicans still hold 54 seat, the Democrats 46 seats. There are 33 undecided now, of course, that Lugar has won his seat.
Stuart Rothenberg, the Democrats need five seats, five wins to have a majority. Why five if it's 54-46?
ROTHENBERG: Well, normally, Wolf, you'd say the Democrats just need to get to 50, and assuming they elect the president and a vice president, the vice president would break the tie for them. In this case, the vice president, if he's a Democrat, would be Joe Lieberman, who's also running for re-election for the Senate from Connecticut. So if Lieberman is elected vice president, he'd have to give up his Senate seat in Connecticut. The governor of Connecticut is John Rowland, a Republican, who has promised to appoint a Republican to fill that vacancy. So the Democrats can't win the Senate by getting the 50. They need 51.
BLITZER: In the House, we're closely following two congressional races, one in Indiana. The incumbent, the Republican, John Hostettler facing a challenge from the Democrat Paul Perry, and in Kentucky, Representative Anne Northup challenged by Eleanor Jordan. Two races.
Let's take a look at the balance of power in the House of Representatives right now. There are, of course, still 223 Republicans, 210 Democrats, two independents. The Democrats need to win seven seats, tossup seats, in order to have a majority.
But they really, Stuart, need more than seven. They need eight or nine, don't they?
ROTHENBERG: That's right, Wolf, because it's one thing to say, "Why do they need to get to 218?" It's another thing to say what do they get to elect their own speaker: In this case, it would probably be Dick Gephardt.
A number of Democrats, at least one, Jim Traficant of Ohio, but others are mentioned as possible defectors, people who might vote for a Republican for speaker. So the Democrats need something of a cushion if they're going to be sure to be able to organize the House. BLITZER: All right. And we're also ready at this point to declare a winner in the gubernatorial race in Indiana. Frank O'Bannon, the winner. The Democrat defeating David McIntosh, the former Republican congressman.
If the Republicans, Stuart, are so easily the winner in the gubernatorial race in Indiana, yet Bush is the easy Dem -- Republican winner, it seems that people in Indiana can split their vote.
ROTHENBERG: Absolutely, and it's a difference between federal races and state races. I think in many conservative, generally Republican states, voters are willing to send a Democrat to the statehouse feeling that the Democrat is generally moderate to conservative, reflects those values. I think they're more cautious about sending them to Washington, D.C., where they get those other Democrats there and their views might change.
BLITZER: And I think we're going to see a pattern of that throughout the night. That's it for now from the balance of power desk. Back to the national desk.
GREENFIELD: You know, it's interesting to me that Richard Lugar's election -- he, like Orrin Hatch, reminds us of something. In Washington, a powerful, respected man. Lugar tried to run for the presidency four years ago. He was less than an asterisk, just as Orrin Hatch was this year. There's something about long-term senators, I guess, that doesn't play on the presidential stage.
WOODRUFF: But I'm always fascinated -- we talked about this the other day, Bill Schneider and Bernie. In a state like Indiana, you think of it as so Republican, and yet they've just re-elected a Democratic governor there.
SCHNEIDER: Well, times are good, and when times are good, incumbents do very well, whether they're Democrats or Republicans. And so I think we're seeing some of that beginning to show up here.
The interesting point is Gore ought to be doing a lot better if times are good. It shouldn't be a close race, as it looks like it will be.
WOODRUFF: Across the country you mean?
SCHNEIDER: Across the country, yes.
WOODRUFF: Yes. All right, we are going to take a short break, ourselves, and when we come back, we're going to preview that big Senate race in the state of New York, with three hours to go before the polls close, but we've got a lot to talk about there. It's Rick Lazio versus the first lady. We'll be right back.
SHAW: In election 2000, one U.S. Senate race has gotten the lion's share of publicity: It's the showdown in New York featuring the unprecedented candidacy of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both she and her opponent Rick Lazio offered one more campaign pose for the cameras this Election Day.
CNN's Frank Buckley has been covering the New York Senate race.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First lady Hillary Clinton emerged from a voting booth ahead in most polls, but still locked in a tight race. With Republican Congressman Rick Lazio, who voted with daughter Molly. Lazio asked later if he was discouraged by the polls.
REP. RICK LAZIO (R), NEW YORK: Not the one that has me in the lead.
BUCKLEY: The Long Island congressman engaged in a full day of Election Day campaigning, beginning early on Long Island, later flying upstate with a final push planned in New York city. One voter Lazio wouldn't reach -- his opponent's husband -- the president.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can't put me down as undecided.
BUCKLEY (on camera): In fact, there were few undecided voters left by Election Day, according to pollsters. This was a high-profile race that played out before New York voters over the course of a year and a half. Those voters who hadn't made up their minds by today, say analysts, were probably going to be no-shows at the polls.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: Take a friend, take a couple of friends, talk to your friends about going to vote.
BUCKLEY (voice-over): One reason why both candidates concentrated heavily on get-out-the-vote activities in the final days of this campaign targeted at their supporters.
LAZIO: If you can pass the word to the whole family how much I'd appreciate having their vote.
BUCKLEY: For Lazio, the challenge to overcome a registered voter base in New York that favors Democrats five to three and a Democratic national ticket expected to win New York in double digits. Still, Lazio had one advantage on Mrs. Clinton, a cornerstone of his campaign: He is a native New Yorker.
LAZIO: I'm a life-long New Yorker, and that's who I want representing me is a New Yorker, not an outsider.
BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton's aim: to keep the race focused on issues and to bring out her base. Especially African American voters -- nearly nine out of 10 who, polls say, support her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I admire her philosophy. I have great respect for her. I admire her integrity.
BUCKLEY: Tonight, Mrs. Clinton's 16-month quest for a Senate seat is over, now in the hands of voters.
Frank Buckley, CNN, New York.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: We're joined, now, by Frank Buckley, who was covering Hillary Clinton's campaign this evening; and Deborah Feyerick, reporting on Rick Lazio's campaign.
The question about turnout; first to you Deborah, what are you hearing from your side on turnout today?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, turnout here in New York city was very, very strong. At many polling places, actually, the lines were out door, and in some cases around the building. And New York city has been a very strong voter base for Hillary Clinton. Out in the suburbs we are hearing similar reports as well, and that's a strong base for Lazio.
BUCKLEY: Yes, anecdotally, so far, Bernie, the turnout seems to be strong. But its, so far, just anecdotal. Hearing from both sides, the Republicans are telling me that they're getting very strong turnout upstate, which would tend to favor them; the Democrats are telling me that they're getting a very strong turnout in the city, and that would tend to favor Mrs. Clinton.
I can tell you that the get-out-the-vote effort was intense on both sides. On the Democrat's side, on Hillary Clinton's side, for example, they sent out 8 million pieces of literature, also made 8 million phone calls to voters here in New York during the past year. Three million of the phone calls were automated calls. And to give you a sense of the kind of organization that's in place, the Democrats have 25,000 Election Day volunteers, they tell me; that compares to about 8,000 in 1996.
SHAW: Deborah, in the Lazio camp, what are you hearing about their concerns right now as they await, obviously, the returns, but also reflect on the kind of campaign run, especially in the last 48 hours?
FEYERICK: Well, what we can tell you is this: We spoke to a spokesperson earlier this afternoon; she said that he was feeling very enthusiastic, very energized. However, as he watches the election returns, the spokesperson also said this was going to be a very tense time. And one thing that we're beginning to hear is this whole issue of timing.
Remember, Rick Lazio didn't get into this race until about 5 1/2 months ago when New York city Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided he was not going to be running; and this morning the governor's wife, Libby Pataki, on WROW radio in Albany said that the mayor's timing -- that he just hung around too long. And in her words he was just jerking people around and she called the mayor selfish because of that. Later in the day we also began to hear that from Rick Lazio himself; and he said that, if I had a magic wand, I would have gotten into this race earlier, but that was not the way it was. So we're beginning to hear this timing issue, the fact that he has only been in this race 5 1/2 months, compared to some 16 months for the first lady.
SHAW: And Frank, before we leave you, a rather facetious question, somewhat passing media interest in the Clinton campaign headquarters there?
BUCKLEY: Bernie, let me give you a sense of the kind of media interest. We have another camera on the other side that's looking back to the riser that I'm sitting on -- we'll take that camera shot and you can get a sense. This riser that is looking toward the podium, these are all the cameras and reporters that are looking in on this race tonight. I mean, this has not been the interest every day in this campaign during the past year and a half. But, certainly, there's a great deal of national interest and local interest, international interest, as well, on this race. And all of the cameras will be facing toward Hillary Clinton at some point tonight.
SHAW: Frank Buckley, Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And now we want to bring into the picture two people we're going to be going to throughout this evening, a CNN political analyst -- first former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry and Mary Matalin, co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE." Both of you are in Washington.
Before we move on to the presidential contest, let me just pick up with a quick question about this New York Senate race. Mary, to you first. Given the fact that the polls have been showing Mrs. Clinton ahead, is there anything Rick Lazio could have done differently and today, of course, now we're hearing, as we just reported this -- I guess, for lack of a better word, sniping about whether Rudy Giuliani got out soon enough?
MARY MATALIN, CO-HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE: Well, it's pretty hard to overcome a 2 million vote advantage, which is what is going on in New York, and of course Al Gore is carrying it heavily. Surprisingly, Mrs. Clinton didn't do as well as she should have done, or Lazio did better than was expected and, probably, if he had more time and wasn't having to spend as much time as he did fund-raising, he -- and it's not over yet -- but, you know, might have been a different race. But I don't think sniping at Giuliani is the right way to go.
WOODRUFF: Mike McCurry?
MIKE MCCURRY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think Mrs. Clinton is going to be, if she's elected tonight, a great United States Senator from New York, a very worthy successor of my old boss Pat Moynihan. She will also probably become a godsend to the National Republican Party because they're going to use her as, sort of, the replacement for Ted Kennedy and all the direct mail pieces that bash liberals from here going forward for at least the next six years.
But I think in the end the people of New York will be very satisfied with their choice.
WOODRUFF: Now, Mary, that wouldn't be the case, would it?
MATALIN: Unless Ted Kennedy's planning on leaving I think he'll still be the main source of our mail.
WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about the presidential contest. Of course, we've been able to call Indiana and Kentucky, the two states where the polls have closed.
Mary, it's still very early, you're clear, though, talking to the George W. Bush campaign. What are they saying right now about how they feel?
MATALIN: They're feeling cautiously optimistic. They have held, it looks, from what's going on on the ground, anecdotally of course -- they're holding on to the Republican base in the South and in the mountain West, but they're adding, embarrassingly, for our friends on the other side -- they're adding the so-called Dukakis states: Wisconsin and Iowa and West Virginia and Oregon. So there will be a breadth of support in this victory for George W. Bush, which should help in bringing the country together and reinforcing his theme of he is a president for all the people. They're feeling pretty good right now.
WOODRUFF: If that's the case, Mike McCurry, how can Al Gore pull this out, or can he?
MCCURRY: Well, look, let's be clear, we don't know nothing yet. The polls are still open everywhere. The interesting thing is, up until 24 hours ago, we were being told that Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, they're the key to the election, no candidate can win those -- and now it seems, oops, maybe that was wrong. And in the Electoral College we were hearing that maybe one candidate would win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College, and now we've got speculation going the other direction and flip-flopping on that.
Look, nobody knows what the results are. What's going on right now is a massive ground war; both of these campaigns turning out their vote. We're at that period of time where people are frantically calling their lists, making sure that they've got all their ID'd voters in the polls; frantically driving people to the polling places, things -- there are exit poll numbers that we speculate about, haven't even picked up yet.
But it's a massive ground war. I've heard from the Gore campaign they are very pleased with the reports they're getting, especially from African American precincts.
MATALIN: And you know what, Judy, that is something that we do know -- we do know the extraordinary amount of absentee ballots requested in Florida. The Republicans feel as if they have one or two points difference made up just in absentee ballot requests. So this is an unprecedented ground war and it's the old-fashioned thing, it may have beat the paid media, which was record-breaking expenditures this time. WOODRUFF: Before I let you go, I'm going to put you both on the spot and ask you to make your long-shot predictions for tonight.
Mary, you go first.
MATALIN: Well, I don't know that this is a long shot, but it certainly is an embarrassment. It looks like the vice president may lose his home state and the president may lose his home state. That hasn't happened in over a quarter of a century and it didn't start happening until the end. And whether or not it's a long shot, it certainly is an embarrassment.
WOODRUFF: Mike McCurry, your long-shot prediction?
MCCURRY: My long shot -- and it's looking longer as the day goes on -- but I still think Gore may carry Arizona, which was a rockbed Republican state as long as I can remember. And my friend Joe Canciamilla is going to get elected to the California State Assembly, and because of term limits there, he's going to end up being the speaker of the California State Assembly before you know it and a figure in national politics. You heard it first.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're writing all that down and we'll call you back to get the spelling of his last name. Mike McCurry and Mary Matalin, and we'll be talking to you all a lot tonight. Thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Well, coming up, the battleground state of Florida and the last minute push to get out the vote. Also when we come back, we'll find out what's online with Leon Harris.
SHAW: Here now with a look at the election coverage online tonight, Leon Harris -- Leon.
LEON HARRIS, CNN INTERACTIVE: Hi, good evening, Bernie. Good evening folks. Well, one reason why we're taking a look at Internet activity on cnn.com this evening is because as of 4:30 p.m. today, we hit a record here. We outstripped all visits that we've ever had one day to our Web site and for the folks who came earlier, we invite to you come back because we've since changed the Web site since then. We've beefed it up. We've re-engineered it. And we've added a host of features that we think are really going to enhance the coverage that we're offering you tonight on CNN television so that you can get a two-fisted, sort of, version of the coverage that we're offering you to from CNN.
SHAW: And if you're just pulling up a chair to CNN's all-night coverage of this campaign 2000, Texas Governor George Bush is off to 20 electoral votes, having won Indiana and Kentucky, where the polls closed, just, oh, 30 minutes ago, Judy.
WOODRUFF: And that is right. And going to be -- a person who's going to be watching tonight along with us is our good friend down in Washington -- or I should say up in Washington tonight, Larry King.
LARRY KING, HOST, CNN "LARRY KING LIVE": Thank you, Judith -- Hello, Judy.
I'm holding forth in the nation's capital, where no elected official is. They're all out tonight. But we'll be coming in at various spots throughout the evening, probably once each hour, with guests like Rudy Giuliani and Senator Bob Dole and Ralph Nader. We'll have our panel of experts.
But we'll start first by going down to Austin, Texas.
Ari Fleischer of the Bush campaign, senior adviser, is there.
Ari, what -- early -- we know that they've given Indiana and Kentucky to you. Any surprises so far in any area?
ARI FLEISCHER, BUSH CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: No, I'm hard pressed to say that, Larry. I think that everything that we've been feeling and sensing for the last several weeks, last several days, apparently is going to be manifest tonight. We're feeling real good.
A lot of close races out there, though, Larry. People still need to hit those polls and vote.
L. KING: What about the turnout: Surprisingly high, low, what?
FLEISCHER: Very high, and I think that's a good sign. It's probably helping both candidates. It's a good sign for the country. Looks like a high turnout.
L. KING: What, if any, was the factor, do you think of Perot and Billy Graham coming forth? Billy didn't outright endorse, but just about this week. What were those factors?
FLEISCHER: Well, in a close race every little bit counts. And Florida, indeed, has always been a battleground state, close race. And so each one of those little factors always goes into the final calculation. Who's to say what it is in the end that gets the job done. It often is a lot of little factors that add up.
L. KING: What's the mood of the governor?
FLEISCHER: He's very upbeat, Larry. Yes. He approaches this with a sense of serenity as well. I think he's ready. We'll wait and see what the final results are. And again it's, you know, close race in a lot of states, but he's feeling real good about things.
L. KING: Since it is so close, what keeps you upbeat?
FLEISCHER: Well, Larry, there's been a year-and-a-half trend that's been in the making. It's been interrupted for about a three- week period where the vice president was up in the polls. He was not able to sustain that. The governor took the lead back during the course of the debates. And trends of that duration are very, very hard to break, and we see no signs out there that it's breaking.
And so when you look at that, when you look at what we know of of the results, of what we know about absentee ballot programs, of our strength in a lot of states, particularly in states that used to be strong Democrat states, it gives you a good feel going into the evening.
L. KING: Any reversal happening -- and I know you contact people all day long -- where you thought you had it and you're worried?
FLEISCHER: Well, you know, you always worry, Larry. You never go into a race that's going to be a close race without really being ready with plans everywhere and a contingency ready to increase your phone calls in different states, for example. And so we were ready, we've had a very big ground game that's been out there in all the states, unprecedented for a Republican campaign. It's bigger than anything the Democrats, interestingly, even have put together. And that's also very helpful here in the final day.
L. KING: And a humongous amount of absentee ballots all over the country.
FLEISCHER: That's right.
L. KING: Does that tell you long night, or might we go a few days from now?
FLEISCHER: Oh, I don't think anybody knows yet whether it's going to be a long night, a short night, how long a night. That's too soon to say. I think the people are going to, when they hit the closing time, a lot of states will be too close to call. But, within that, it still is all looking pretty good for us.
L. KING: Ari, always nice seeing you. Have some coffee.
Ari Fleischer in Austin, Texas.
L. KING: Now, let's hop over to Nashville, Tennessee, where Doug Hattaway, a campaign spokesman for Al Gore, is standing by. I guess you just heard Ari. How do you feel?
DOUG HATTAWAY, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Yes, I think if I have another cup of coffee, I'm going to go sky high here.
L. KING: How do you feel?
HATTAWAY: We feel good about -- very good. We've been really happy with the heavy turnout we've seen. We've always said that turnout's going to be a good sign for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. We've seen it particularly in Florida, particularly in the crucial area of South Florida. It looks like Florida is going very well.
It's not over yet. We are still getting out the message to people who still need to vote, to come out and vote for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. Every single vote is going to count in this race.
L. KING: Did you expect to lose Indiana and Kentucky, as is projected?
HATTAWAY: The recent polls had showed that trend. And that's fine. We're continuing to focus on states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, which, as you know, are some of the big prizes in the East.
We're really reminding people across the country that important things are on the ballot tonight. Freedom of choice is on the ballot tonight; prosperity itself is on the ballot tonight. We're continuing to get out that message and really pushing people who are inclined to vote Democratic, women, working people, to get to the polls and cast those votes, because it ain't over yet.
L. KING: All right. Now, Doug, as you look at this -- Ari said that he is optimistic even though it's close. Are you saying the same thing, "optimistic" and "close"?
HATTAWAY: Surprise, surprise. Yes. We are very optimistic. Again, we got optimistic early today by the unusually heavy turnout early in the day. The Democratic vote tends to come in later in the day, so it was a very good trend for us to hear about record turnouts in South Florida, record turnouts in a lot of the Democratic areas, even Democratic areas in traditionally Republican states like New Hampshire and Nevada. We heard about what they call overperforming Democratic districts where more Democrats are coming out today to vote than had come out in recent elections.
So the pundits were saying voters weren't interested. I think we're seeing the voters had something else in mind entirely.
L. KING: And what, Doug, is the mood of the vice president?
HATTAWAY: He's very upbeat as well. He campaigned 30 hours straight. He said he's going to work hard every day, not let us down. That's exactly what he did here.
He's gathered with his family. They're finally able to relax a bit. They're starting to watch the returns. I think he's very optimistic about the outcome, given how hard we've worked to get out the vote, and how hard he's worked to get out the message.
L. KING: And are you prepared, Doug, for a long night as well?
HATTAWAY: We're prepared for anything, Larry. I think we are still working hard to get our people to the polls. That's going to go on until the very last minute in every single state and every single community available. This is that -- where the polls are still open.
This is a very close race. We all knew it was going to be close. And we think that -- everybody who can hear my voice who's inclined to vote Democratic ought to get up and go to the polls because that's going to make all the difference. L. KING: Thank you, Doug Hattaway. That was Doug Hattaway from Nashville, Tennessee, spokesman for the Gore campaign. We'll be back in the next hour with more guests, and at 12 o'clock tonight, midnight Eastern Time, we'll have a full panel discussion.
Now let's go back down to Atlanta and our buddy Judy -- Judith.
WOODRUFF: All right, Larry King, we wish you were here with us, but we're glad you're on our air. And you're right, we'll be coming back to you often throughout this night.
Well, we are 23 minutes away from the polls closing in six states, including the crucial state of Florida. When we come back, we're going to take a look at the races in the state of Florida with Mark Potter. We're also going to bring in Hal Bruno for a look at the electoral map and all the states up for grabs. We'll be back.
SHAW: With his younger brother the governor, Florida was supposed to be George W. Bush country, but it has turned out to be a real battleground.
Mark Potter examines the tight race in Florida.
GORE: Thank you, Miami!
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Underscoring Florida's political importance, Vice President Gore ended his campaign here, with early morning stops in Miami Beach and Tampa.
BUSH: We will keep the pressure on Fidel Castro until the people are free.
POTTER: Over the weekend, Governor George W. Bush also rallied supporters in Miami and Central Florida. In the 11th hour, with 25 electoral votes at stake, the political parties called in all their stars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nibbling on sponge cake, watching the sun bake all of those Democrats covered in oil...
POTTER: Get-out-the-vote drives concentrated on African- Americans...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon, Mavis.
POTTER: ... seniors, and in Miami, the Cuban-Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) George W. Bush.
POTTER: Many analysts call the closeness of the Florida race the biggest surprise of election 2000. It was long believed that Governor Jeb Bush could easily carry Florida for his brother. TOM FIEDLER, "MIAMI HERALD": By the time the Republican Party woke up, or the Bush-Cheney campaign woke up to the fact that this was going to be a real, real dog fight, they had to play catchup.
POTTER: Vice President Gore made inroads by appealing to Florida's powerful senior voting bloc.
JIM KANE, EDITOR, "FLORIDA VOTER": Early on, he sensed that the issue that was going to drive the vote here in Florida was going to be Social Security and prescription drug costs, senior issues.
POTTER: Analysts believe the election could be won in Central Florida, along interstate 4, from Tampa through Orlando to Daytona Beach.
KANE: The folks that have moved in there, they're not strong partisans. They are people who are independent in their political thinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next United States senator from Florida is going to be Bill McCollum.
POTTER: The closeness of the presidential race will likely affect Florida's tight U.S. Senate race. Republicans hope Congressman Bill McCollum will replace retiring Republican Connie Mack. But Democrats view the seat as a likely pickup and are betting on state insurance commissioner Bill Nelson.
BILL NELSON, FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE: I want to ask every one of everybody here for your vote.
POTTER: Historically, for Republicans, a win in Florida's presidential race is considered essential. No Republican has made it to the White House without winning Florida since 1924.
Mark Potter, CNN, Miami.
WOODRUFF: Well, Florida is just one of several states where the race for the White House is incredibly close. Our analyst Hal Bruno joins us now with a look at a couple of those contests -- Hal.
HAL BRUNO, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, hi, Judy. You see this map behind me, you see red for Bush, in Indiana and Kentucky. Everything else is gray. That means the polls haven't closed yet in those states. When they do, we'll start reporting them. They'll be red for Bush, blue for Al Gore, and a lot of them are going to be yellow, which means it's too close to call. And those are the states in particular that we're going to be talking about.
I'm going go to my John Madden routine here and show you on this handy little telestrator.
Let's look at Florida, which is one of the most important ones. This is part of George Bush's electoral vote base that he has to win, and Al Gore has mounted, our correspondent said, a very serious challenge there, appealing to the senior citizens, who are -- who are 21 percent of the state vote, 65 and over, using the health care issues and Social Security.
Now, the strength of the Democrats is here in Miami, and it goes up the East Coast, called the Gold Coast, all the way up to West Palm Beach through Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood. This is where the Democrats have to build up a huge margin in order to counter the Republican strength in other parts of the states.
Now, you've got the Cubans in Miami who are mainly Republicans -- that's about 12 percent. But you've got Jewish voters, who are about 6 percent, and you've got African-American voters who are about 10 percent of the state vote, concentrated in these areas.
Now, the Republican strength is over here along the Gulf Coast, up through Central Floored, up into the north and out into the panhandle. Then you have the Tampa Bay area. That's the swing area that can go either Republican or Democratic, and this is where the Florida battle is being fought.
Take a look at Pennsylvania now. Pennsylvania is the must-win state for Al Gore, and his strength is concentrated right here in Philadelphia. He's got to come out of there with about maybe a 300,000, 400,000 majority to counter what the Republican strength is in the rest of the state.
Also up here in the southeast, that could be Democratic, too. That's where the Reagan Republicans were back in the 1980s. The Republican strength, though, is all through north into Central Pennsylvania, down here into the southeast. Then you get to Pittsburgh and the west, up here in Erie. This is all the swing area. This could go either Republican or Democrat, and could very well determine who carries this state.
WOODRUFF: Hal, a quick question, the selection of Joe Lieberman makes how much of a difference for Al Gore in Florida?
BRUNO: Well, it certainly -- it's like noodle soup, it can't hurt him. But in terms of trying to get out the Jewish vote, you can't do much more than is already there naturally. They have about the highest percentage of voting of any group in the country.
WOODRUFF: All right.
SHAW: Hal Bruno, we'll be checking in with you again and again.
When we come back, Farai Chideya and Tucker Carlson, their thoughts on election 2000 as CNN's coverage continues throughout the evening.
SCHNEIDER: Coming up at the top of the hour, during the 7:00 p.m. hour in the eastern U.S., polls in nine more states will close on election 2000. These states hold 106 electoral votes: New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida close at the top of the hour, while West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina close at 7:30.
One of the important battleground states, Florida, alone wields 25 electoral votes. An increasingly Republican state, Florida voted twice for President George Bush and has another Bush, Jeb, as its governor. The hot-button issue here is undoubtedly Medicare, with almost one-quarter of the electorate over the age of 65. But going into the final days of this campaign, Florida was still up for grabs.
SHAW: And joining us now, Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard" and Farai Chideya of Popandpolitics.com.
Farai, first to you. At this hour, coming up at 7:00 Eastern time, CNN will have some more races to call. What are you concentrating on right now?
FARAI CHIDEYA, POPANDPOLITICS.COM: Well certainly I want to look at Florida. I mean, we're talking about a massive amount of electoral votes. And I think that the vice president has got to feel fairly comfortable that he's got a good shot at this. The polls were giving him a slight edge, and I think that even when you talk about the gains the Republican Party. has made with Latinos, most Latinos are not going to vote Republican. And seniors are still very concerned about their medical benefits and very concerned about Social Security. So I think this is a state which is very much in play and leaning towards the Democrats.
SHAW: Tucker, your concentration this hour?
TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, maybe the next hour, I mean, I think it will be Pennsylvania. I think it's probably the closest battleground state of them all, apparently tied, and its tracked very closely with the overall outcome in the past five elections, when it went for Bush's father and then Clinton twice in the last two. And, as I said, it's tied. So I think when Pennsylvania closes and it's called, you will get a pretty good sense of what's going to happen.
SHAW: And Tucker, where do you think it's going to come down to -- the crunch area? Will it be the battleground states or will it be the smaller states in terms of electoral votes?
CARLSON: Well, the Bush strategy seems to be -- I mean, obviously, it's evolving, but is seems to sort come down to winning enough of the small states to win overall. Can you do that? I mean, they say you can, and looks like mathematically you can, and if they're going to win, that's probably how they're do it, by ceding the bigger states, obviously New York and California, and then picking up virtually everything else. Can you do it? Yes, probably.
CHIDEYA: I agree. I mean, if there is a Bush victory, the bigger states are really looking as if they might go for the Democrats. And what's interesting here is that the heartland is fairly comfortably going for Bush. I mean, you've looked at the support for Bush going much more for, you know, the white men going comfortably for the Bush camp and married, white women looking much more like Bush voters. So I think that we're going to see a lot of the Midwest and the heartland going for Bush.
GREENFIELD: It's Jeff Greenfield, folks. In terms of the hopes and dreams of the more ideologically committed, whether on the left or the right, it seems to me it's going to be almost impossible, if this race does turn out as close as everybody is predicting, for anyone to claim a mandate to do pretty much of anything. Do you folks agree or demur?
CARLSON: Well, I can't wait for the symposiums after, the symposia, you know, where everyone sits around, often on college campuses or in think tanks here in Washington, you know, sips water and tries to figure out what it all meant. And I think it's going to be far more confusing this year than certainly my lifetime.
I'm really interested to see the Nader numbers. I mean, it seems like Bush is going to win Wisconsin, and I wouldn't be surprised if he wins by -- wins in a way that makes it obvious that Nader allowed him to win. Nader is strong in Wisconsin. And again, we won't know for several hours exactly what effect Nader had, but I bet it's a real one.
And I would be surprised if the Green Party in whatever form it takes after this election doesn't stick around in a way, because there's a need for it in a way that I don't think there's ever been a need for the reform party.
CHIDEYA: I would have to agree, and I think that what's interesting is that the Green Party actually has a platform. The Reform Party aside from some vague notions about, you know, a flat tax, really never had a platform. The Green Party has a multitude of very firm platforms. It is very much against the death penalty. It is very much for environmental reform. It is very much for campaign finance reform, and so this is a party that actually has platforms and regardless of who wins, it's going to push for them.
SHAW: Farai Chideya, Tucker Carlson, thanks very much. We'll check in with you again later on this evening -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Just seven minutes away from polls closing in six states, including that crucial state of Florida. Before we do that we'll hear from "The Capital Gang" after this break.
WOODRUFF: As we wait for those 7:00 Eastern poll closings, there's no one we'd rather hear from than CNN's own capital gang. Let's go to you guys now.
AL HUNT, "WALL STREET JOURNAL:" Thank you, Judy.
I'm Al Hunt with the capital gang, Robert Novak, Margaret Carlson and Kate O'Beirne. Alright, Margaret, you first. Is this going to be a nail-biter?
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: This election is so close that Dick Cheney voted. I saw it with my own eyes. They had him on TV doing it.
You know, the atmospherics of today were exactly the way the election, I mean, the campaign has gone. Bush interviewed sipping coffee, said he was going to have a long lunch, a short nap. He was calm as could be. His campaign put out his schedule for tomorrow. The heading on it, president- elect Bush. Al Gore, by contrast, went to vote in a school, turned to this hapless group of students who were there to cheer him on and held a town meeting.
HUNT: Bob, this is the way we used to cover elections. We didn't know the results until the votes came in, right?
ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": One thing we do know about today was there was a terrific African-American outpouring in key states. And that is very important. Second thing is, that we didn't used to have, is we have lots and lots of absentee votes. I am told by one numbers cruncher that in Florida, where polls close in just what, in five minutes, that the probable Republican advantage in absentee votes of 150,000 votes. So, in other words, Al Gore, in this very key state, has to start with winning by at least 150,000.
Yes, the other thing is that I've heard a lot of people say you have to win -- the Republicans have to win Florida to win the election. It would be nice for them, but I don't think that's so.
HUNT: Kate, Indiana and Kentucky have closed. Did we learn anything?
KATE O'BEIRNE, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, Republicans hope so. Kentucky is a bellwether state. They have been with the winner the last 9 times. And if you look at what the vote looked like in Kentucky, George Bush carried women decisively, independents two to one and 25 percent of Democrats. So, I think Republicans certainly hope that Kentucky is a bellwether again. But the states that are going to close within a few minutes are also key to Bush. You know he's got South Carolina. He's got Georgia. He's got Virginia. He needs them all. He's hoping New Hampshire will be friendlier to him in November than it was in February. So, the stakes are getting...
HUNT: I would just say one thing about Indiana, Frank O'Bannon, the Democratic governor, a giant killer. He beat Steve Goldsmith, the GOP star of the future, beat David McIntosh, GOP star of the future. I think everything you said is right. I think, as always, that Gore has to do the trifecta. He has to win Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. But I also think in addition to that he is probably going to have to win some of those smaller states. So, all eyes will be on Florida up to 7:00. But little New Hampshire may matter, too.
CARLSON: Eyes will be on Dade County in part, because if Gore wins big there he'll win the state.
HUNT: Final word from you. I think made a very telling point though. The African-American vote could be decisive.
CARLSON: You know, the turnout was so heartening? I mean it was like...
HUNT: Heartening for who?
CARLSON: For anybody, for a citizen because the turnout has been going down. It looked like El Salvador with the lines around the block at these...
HUNT: Is that good?
CARLSON: Yes, it is, because people waited in line to vote. People will wait for nothing in America. And I expected to see Jimmy Carter certifying the vote, there was such a heavy turnout.
NOVAK: Let me say something about the trifecta.
NOVAK: The trifecta, that is Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida, Gore could win all of those and still lose the election.
HUNT: We now go to our election headquarters in Atlanta, where it is 7:00 p.m. in the East. Polls have just closed in Florida, New Hampshire, and Virginia.
ANNOUNCER: From CNN Center in Atlanta, coverage of Election 2000 continues. Here again, Judy Woodruff, Bernard Shaw, Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.
SHAW: At 7:00 the polls have closed in certain states and CNN is looking at what is going on. In Florida, this race between Gore and Bush, too close to call. Jeff.
GREENFIELD: This is the one we will be watching all night. Gore spent 19 -- made 19 visits to the state, Bush 13. They've poured in millions of dollars. Fourth biggest prize and it's up for grabs.
SHAW: Mike McCurry says what's going on tonight is a ground war, a massive one. And look at this, look at the war in Georgia, Vice President Gore, Governor Bush. This race for CNN at this hour too close to call.
GREENFIELD: And this has got to be a shocker in Austin. They had this race put away in their pocket for weeks, if not months. We'll see.
SHAW: Let's go to Thomas Jefferson's state. What's happening in Virginia? Again, the race too close to call.
GREENFIELD: Bernie, Virginia has not voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. It is the heart of the Republican base in the South. They should have won this one going away.
SHAW: In New Hampshire, Governor Bush lost the primary there, but right now, it's neck-and-neck between his opponent and himself.
Looking at South Carolina with its eight electoral votes, Governor Bush has won another Southern state tonight.
And in Vermont, Vice President Gore wins Vermont's three electoral votes.
Now for your viewers watching our coverage, this is the electoral map. Every time we call states, we will tell you what the totals are, and it's Governor Bush 28 electoral votes, Vice President Gore three at this very early hour in our election night coverage.
WOODRUFF: Stunning numbers, I think. Well, maybe stunning is too strong a word, but some real surprises here, Bernie.
I think that all of us are sitting back a little bit at the news that we can't call Georgia. We're not able to call Virginia.
This is a state, as Jeff suggested, has gone Republican -- how many times? -- 11 out of the last 12 presidential elections.
GREENFIELD: Only Lyndon Johnson took it. And we should emphasize, this doesn't mean that it's going the other way...
WOODRUFF: It doesn't mean...
GREENFIELD: Right now, we don't think we can call it. But given how certain all of us were that Virginia and Georgia were going for Bush, it's a little surprising.
SHAW: Well, in keeping with what Hal Bruno was talking about and Mike McCurry saying what's going on at this hour across this country is a massive ground war. He talked about Florida. He took us up the East Coast. He talked about the Republican strength in the panhandle and Tampa being the swing area.
SCHNEIDER: Right. Well, the ground war, a lot of it is going on among African-Americans, who, of course, are a very prominent constituency in Georgia and in Virginia. Again, those are states expected to be Republican, but a heavy African-American vote could really turn it.
GREENFIELD: We have, ladies and gentlemen, some Senate calls to make. First in Florida, Bill Nelson, state insurance commissioner, has beaten the congressman, Bill McCollum. You'll recognize him as one of the House impeachment managers. This is a pick up for the Democrats. Connie Mack, the Republican, who could have won easily, most people think, retired.
In Georgia, Zell Miller, former governor, appointed to fill the seat when Paul Coverdell died, has defeated former Senator Matt Mattingly and be enough of a margin to avoid the runoff that Georgia law requires. This is a hold. And in Virginia, one of the most closely watched, Chuck Robb, senator and former Governor George Allen, son of the legendary football coach, locked in a race too close to call. Rob was considered the single-most vulnerable Democratic incumbent.
We are off and running for control of the Senate. It's still going to be a very long and fascinating night.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, the voters are talking as they leave the polls in Florida, in New Hampshire. What are some of the things they're indicating?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Florida we just said was a tossup state. We can't call it yet. You think of Florida, you think of seniors. They're a quarter of the voters in Florida. Supposedly, Al Gore has seniors locked up in his lockbox because of the Social Security issue. But take a look here. Look at the way seniors are voting. They're almost splitting 50/50 between Gore and Bush. Bush has a narrow edge. That's not supposed to be happening. That's why Florida is too close to call.
We also said New Hampshire is a state that's too close to call. Gore is fighting hard in New Hampshire. Let's take a look at John McCain supporters. He endorsed George Bush, and they are going almost 60 percent for George Bush over Al Gore.
Gore thought he had an edge with McCain supporters because he said he endorsed campaign finance reform much more strongly than George Bush did. McCain supporters were a key constituency in New Hampshire.
Remember New Hampshire, that primary, McCain beat Bush in that primary. McCain supporters are now going for Bush. Is it just Republican Party loyalty? I don't think so, and here's why. Only one-third of the voters in New Hampshire call themselves Republicans. Half the voters in New Hampshire call themselves McCain supporters. The McCain party is a lot bigger than the Republican Party.
GREENFIELD: And what's fascinating, Bernie, is that New Hampshire is the one state in New England where the liberal Republicans still live. That is generally considered conservative. And yet, in the most conservative New England state, where I think the Bush campaign really had its hopes to get it, we still can't call it for either of them, anybody..
SHAW: Let me make a quick point. You mentioned McCain's strength in New Hampshire. A lot of speculation that if, if, Governor Bush loses to Vice President Gore tonight, the heir apparent in the Republican Party will be the man from Arizona.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. Well he argued many times that he thought that Bush couldn't win because he needed a bigger message than just a conservative message, and he urged Bush to become the reform candidate. Bush adopted part of that message, so McCain would be in the position to say, I told you so. But remember something: He's played the good solder. He endorsed George Bush, he campaigned for Republicans, so Republicans have no complaint about John McCain trying to undermine Bush.
SHAW: And especially when he was dealing with the skin cancer and he had to take time off to be treated and recover from that, too.
WOODRUFF: It was also speculated that in New Hampshire -- and we don't have any way of knowing if this was the case yet, that New Hampshire may be one of the few places Ralph Nader could be hurting George Bush because of those very McCain voters from earlier this year.
WOODRUFF: Let's go over to the "Balance of Power" desk -- arena, I should say, and talk to Wolf Blitzer.
Wolf, what do you think?
BLITZER: Judy, in Vermont we're ready to declare the incumbent Republican senator, Jim Jeffords, a moderate Republican well-known for his liberal point of view, he has been re-elected against Ed Flanagan, the first openly gay U.S. Senate nominee of a major party.
Let's take a look at the new balance of power in the U.S. Senate right now.
With the win of Bill Nelson, the Democrat, in Florida, the balance of power has now tilted, one toss-up state going for the Democrats. Democrats one gain in their need for five, Stuart Rothenberg, to become the majority power in the Senate.
ROTHENBERG: Well, Wolf, McCollum, of course, was one of the House impeachment managers. He started out behind. A lot of Republican insiders, both in Washington but also in Florida, really wondered if he had enough appeal statewide to beat somebody like Bill Nelson. Obviously he closed, but he didn't get over the top.
BLITZER: It will be interesting to look at the exit polls to see if that fact, that Bill McCollum was an impeachment manager, had any significant impact in his defeat today.
Let's take a look at the House of Representatives. we're now ready to declare in Kentucky Representative Fletcher, the Republican, the winner over former Representative Scotty Baesler. It looks like a pretty significant victory. There's no change, though, in terms of pick-up in the House of Representative, still the same as it would be, for the Democrats need 7.
ROTHENBERG: Wolf, this is a big race, though. I think a year ago many insiders would have said Ernie Fletcher was headed for defeat. Scotty Baesler a former member of Congress from this congressional district, a statewide candidate who narrowly lost the U.S. Senate bid. Allegedly the issue of patients' bill of rights was going to hurt Fletcher, who is a doctor. The doctors switched positions. They supported him two years ago, but not this time. Instead, that issue did not hurt him. He was successful. He was able to neutralize it.
At the end of the campaign, Baesler turned to guns as an issue, and in fact the NRA supported Scottie Fletcher, as did the Republican Majority Issues Committee, Tom DeLay's group. This is a big win for the Republicans.
BLITZER: All right, let's take a look the governor races right now. In New England, two governor races, the incumbent, Jeanne Shaheen, facing a challenge from former Senator Gorton Humphrey. Right now, the vote is much too early to call, and we don't know who is going to be the next -- the winner of that race between Jeanne Shaheen and Gordon Humphrey.
As far as Vermont is concerned, Howard Dean, the incumbent Democrat, it looks like he may come in first, but he may not get, according to our exit polls, the 50 percent he needs in order to be re-elected. There could be a run-off in that gubernatorial race. Vermont is a state where Governor Dean signed into law the so-called "gay marriage rights provision."
ROTHENBERG: Right, civil unions. And really, we've been watching Vermont, which has been trending Democratic for some time and, of course, went to the vice president today. We've been watching that state to see whether this issue, civil unions, is going to redefine the politics of the state, re-energize conservatives -- not yet clear.
BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, we'll have a lot more.
Back to Bernie on the national desk.
SHAW: Thank you, Wolf, and quickly now to Missouri, where on the ballot a dead man's name is in contention.
And correspondent Kate Snow has some news.
KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, we're hearing here in Missouri that the state's Democratic Party asked for the city of St. Louis, they asked a federal judge to keep the polls open late, that because turnout here has been a real factor today. They have had incredible turnout here in the city of St. Louis.
We've just learned that a judge has ruled, a federal judge, to keep the polls open until 10:00 p.m. local time. That's 11:00 p.m. Eastern time. The judge, according to Democrats here, saying, quote, "The board of elections didn't live up to its obligations to allow the citizens of St. Louis to vote." That coming from a federal judge here in the city of St. Louis.
I can also tell you that I've talked to the county board of elections here in St. Louis County, this, of course, being one of the most populated areas of the state of Missouri. St. Louis County telling us they have a two-hour line right now, and they are not going to count any results until everyone has had a chance to vote here tonight. One more note, Bernie, in Kansas City, the state Democratic Party also asked for a federal judge to allow polls to open late in Kansas City. That request in Kansas City proper was denied -- Bernie.
SHAW: Kate Snow, what are Republicans saying about this late development, which is very significant and how might this bear on turn-out given the dynamics on the race -- the widow Jean Carnahan, her late husband running against Senator John Ashcroft, the incumbent Republican. What about the dynamics of this right now?
SNOW: Right. Well, Bernie, these notes just coming in now, so I have not had a chance to talk with the Republican State Party yet, but I can imagine that there will be some concern. That's because these two areas, Kansas City and St. Louis, both urban areas, both Democratic strongholds, and clearly if the polls kept open in these urban centers that could potentially help the Democrats.
There was a lot of talk here over the last couple of weeks since the passing of Governor Mel Carnahan about whether people would turn out in droves in his memory and that may be part of what we're seeing here today. The state board -- the state secretary saying -- the secretary of state's office saying that they think they're going to have a record turn out here in the state of Missouri -- Bernie.
SHAW: Kate Snow, we're going to come back to you, of course, later tonight -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, much more ahead in our special election coverage. We've got more polls closing in three states at 7:30, Eastern. A lot ahead. Stay with us.
WOODRUFF: The night is young but this election is riveting. We've had polls close in let see, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight states so far. We have been able to call George Bush the winner in four of those states, most of them no surprise: Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vermont. But the story at this hour is that the following states still too close to call: Virginia, New Hampshire, Georgia, Florida, at this hour, still too close to call in the presidential race. It doesn't mean that they may not fall one way or another, Jeff Greenfield, but right now we can't.
GREENFIELD: I just want to point out, I think we called Vermont for Gore.
WOODRUFF: You're right. I'm sorry and my mistake.
GREENFIELD: I don't think that will swing the election but we might as well get on the record with three electoral votes.
SHAW: Three electoral votes.
WOODRUFF: I appreciate being corrected. I'm sure it won't be the first mistake that I make tonight. Joining us now, speaking of states won and states we're not able to call, we're going to go right to Nashville, Tennessee and our correspondent there, John King, who's been with Bush campaign through much of this campaign, and simultaneously to Austin, Texas to our own Candy Crowley.
Candy, about some of these states that we're not able to call yet that I think some of us might have assumed would already be in Governor Bush's corner, namely Virginia and Georgia. Any reaction from the people you're talking with?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, they are still optimistic here. It's tempered by the closeness of the race, which they say they say they expected, but I can tell you when you talk to Bush people, strategists and aides, they have several ways that they could put together an electoral map that shows it in the Bush winning column. So they're sort of watching this as like moving around, if we lose here and win here then this will happen. So they're still sort of looking at the map and feeling that it favors them.
WOODRUFF: John King.
KING: Nervous urgency here tonight, Judy. Usually campaigns are over at this time, the candidate watching the results. Not so in this race. Because it's so close, the vice president and Senator Lieberman, we're told, still making calls, satellite interviews, radio interviews, their wives both making calls. I just spoke to a White House official who says the president of the United States has made 40 calls himself, still making some at this hour, trying to turn out the Democratic vote.
What they're looking at is nobody here expects Virginia or Georgia to end up in the Democratic call, but they think New Hampshire might be an opportunity to grab few electoral votes they thought were going to go other way. The man who directs the groundwork for the vice president is a gentleman named Michael Hooley from Boston, Massachusetts. He called Senator Ted Kennedy today. He called the mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino today, asked them to send anybody and everybody they could north of the border to try to turn out the vote late into the night in New Hampshire.
They believe they may need those because they might lose here in the home state of Tennessee, although they're again working late into the night trying to pull this state out. They believe they will win. They are predicting they will win Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the big three as we're calling them. But still, they think they need 10 to 15 more electoral votes to get to the top. Still hunting for those, even thought the night is growing late.
GREENFIELD: Candy, it's Jeff Greenfield. We've heard a lot about what the Gore campaign is doing, dispatching Jesse Jackson, dispatching Ted Kennedy, Michael Hooley who, if Gore wins, may get an ambassadorship because he's in charge of the turn-out, but what about the Bush people? Are they making and last minute efforts to get out their base?
CROWLEY: Sure, and they've had it in place, you know, for some time. But look at some of these places. Look at Michigan, look at Wisconsin, look and look at Pennsylvania and who do you have in charge of those states? Three Republican governors: John Engler, Tommy Thompson and Tom Ridge. So, you know, there is machinery in place there and people on the ground there. They're in close contact with them, but they do have those kinds of mechanisms in place.
Obviously, in Florida, Jeb Bush is governor there. While he's here, he has, you know, his whole state machine there. So they have some things in place, but they have been working on voter turn-out, they tell me, for 17 months, since it began and putting out phone call, ,But yes, there are still last-minute phone calls. You saw George Bush making some of them this morning. But on the ground and in the states, yes, they're still manning the phone banks, still knocking on doors and still looking for people to go out and vote.
WOODRUFF: John King, the news from St. Louis that the polls are going to stay open later there, and we're looking at pictures now of Governor George Bush arriving at, I believe, is at the hotel in Austin where he's watching the returns. Candy.
CROWLEY: Actually, he's going to a restaurant next door with his father, his mother and his brother, Jeb. But they will be watching the election returns from a local hotel here, yes.
WOODRUFF: It's little dark, but we'll take the word of our cinematographers that that was indeed Governor Bush getting out of the car. John King, I was just going to ask about the word from St. Louis from Kate Snow that a judge has ruled that they can keep the polls open there. Any particular reaction for Gore folks?
KING: Not to that specific decision, but we know that Donna Brazile, the Gore Campaign was here earlier tonight speaking to us. She's the key architect of the African-American turn-out. She said they were calling all around the country to make sure, touching base with mayors, to make sure the polls were open if necessary, even a few times calling the Justice Department today to report what they considered intimidating tactics in cities around the country. African-American turnout obviously very critical to the vice president's chances.
While we were here interviewing Donna Brazile -- we talk a lot about telephone calls and phone banks -- there's new technology now, too. You can get e-mail on your pagers, and even as she was standing here, a state representative from the Philadelphia area sent her an e- mail saying I need you to call this radio station. Can you get the vice president or the president to call this radio station? We need reinforcements. So late into the night, the ground war continuing.
The Gore campaign has what is called a 211 strategy, meaning it thinks it needs to win two of the states that have 11 electoral votes. They believe Washington state will be one of those. Three others -- Tennessee, Missouri and Wisconsin. You just mentioned Missouri. Of those three, Tennessee, Missouri and Wisconsin they don't think Missouri is the one they will tonight, although that turnout obviously encouraging.
WOODRUFF: Candy, as we hear about these -- these techniques that John is referring to, literally calling people at the last minute, saying can you get the president or the vice president on the phone with a radio station, is this the kind of thing that the Republicans are doing? CROWLEY: They are. George Bush did some radio interviews this morning. Again, he has people in the states themselves, who are doing interviews with local media and that kind of thing. So there's a lot of people on the ground, and again, it's an organization that they have built up.
You know, I remember during the primary they kept saying this is a 50-state campaign, and now we have headquarters in 42 of them and 43 of them, and they were up with 50 as early as April. So they've had these organizations in place. They said they've had more volunteers than they've ever had in a Republican presidential campaign.
They have felt pretty good about this ground war coming into that, coming into this day, and they feel pretty good about it now.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley in Austin, John King in Nashville. Thank you both. We're going to give you little break, but you know we're going to be coming back to you often throughout the night.
Much more ahead. In eight minutes, three more states have poll closings. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Joining us now once again from Washington, Mike McCurry, former Clinton White House press secretary, and Mary Matalin, co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."
To you both, these results from 7 o'clock not able to call -- we are able to call South Carolina for George Bush, Vermont for Al Gore. But when it comes to Virginia, Georgia, and Florida -- no surprise -- we can't call them yet for either one.
Mary, what do you make of this?
MATALIN: Well, I make a cautious (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that will ultimately result, I know for a fact, that Virginia -- and I would stake my life on Virginia and Georgia going for Governor Bush. And I believe that Florida is going to go for him.
And again, it's a point that we made earlier that can be -- is unseeable at this point, and that is the efforts of the ground game, including the prolific absentee ballot requests, which the Bush campaign knows by checking back on the records, were preponderantly toward Republican request. And that makes up one or two points in the polls.
WOODRUFF: Mike, are you surprised that we're not able to call this? Bernie, I'm going to interrupt and throw to -- excuse me -- Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: CNN is going to report a call in Virginia. Virginia, CNN declares, goes to Texas Governor George Bush. This is just in: 13 electoral votes in Thomas Jefferson's state. GREENFIELD: Well, that is no surprise, and I think, Mary, you were pressing in a fairly, you know, not the longest shot of the night that a state that hadn't voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson would probably tilt in that direction.
It may well be that we just want to say that we are not being -- you know, we're being cautious enough so that we know what we're doing.
But Mary and Michael, pick up this theme about turnout, OK, about the fact at this late hour people are out there driving people out to vote.
MCCURRY: Well, one thing, Jeff -- and I think that it would be good to remind viewers how these exit polls work and just walk them through the process. There has to be some checking, the voter service that actually collects these numbers, does the interviews, needs to go back and check the data you get precinct by precinct with some actual counts from real voters to make sure that your model for predicting some of these results are right.
I think it's very appropriate for networks to hold back and wait until they know for sure what the answer is before they make one of these calls. That's what's going on here. I think that's appropriate.
One of the things that may be happening is an extraordinary effort at turnout. Now, we've heard some reports about Missouri, elsewhere where there's even some legal action at this late hour to make sure that people get the opportunity to vote. That could indicate that there is a very extensive turnout effort under way that maybe some of the exit pollsters want to consider.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mike McCurry, Mary Matalin, we'll come back to you shortly. We are just about two minutes away from poll closings in three states. We'll be right back.
SHAW: It is 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast, where the polls have closed in Ohio, North Carolina and West Virginia. And to show you the extent of the ground war between these two gentlemen, we are not able to call Ohio yet in the presidential race for the White House. Too close to call in Ohio, too close to call in the Tar Heel state of North Carolina, with its 14 electoral votes out. And too close to call in West Virginia, with its five electoral votes.
GREENFIELD: And as we look at the electoral map, we obviously putting none of these states in anybody's column, but we should note once again that in any puzzle that adds up to the White House for George W. Bush, Ohio and North Carolina have to be in that puzzle. West Virginia, which is a predominantly Democratic state, is one of those states that the Republicans thought they could take away from the Democrats.
SHAW: Wherever you see yellow, that's an oh-oh. We can't tell you anything about that state Judy.
WOODRUFF: Ohio is a state, as we know, that no Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio. We can say the same thing about Illinois, which we will be talking about in the next hour or so. Two states at least symbolically important for George W. Bush. Just because we cannot call Ohio right now doesn't mean it's not going to end up in his corner later. But for the time being, as Bernie said, still very hard fought there on the ground.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, what are you hearing?
SCHNEIDER: What I'm hearing is West Virginia, that's remarkable in the sense that ought to be an easy win for Al Gore. It's only voted for a Republican twice in the last ten elections. Remember in 1992 Bush called Gore Ozone Man? Well, we asked voters in West Virginia, which is more important to you? Promoting economic growth or protecting the environment? In West Virginia, those are not environmentalists, they say economic growth by almost two to one is more important to them. And the people who cited economic growth voted very heavily for George W. Bush.
And let me explain another interesting pattern we are seeing in West Virginia. You know the union vote is supposedly going heavily for Al Gore? unions are delivering for him? Well among voters from union households in West Virginia, they are splitting their vote almost evenly between Gore and Bush, probably because of concern over Gore's environmental stand.
GREENFIELD: Which leads us to another of the keys that we have been talking about. We asked about social issues, the environment, which plays well for Democrats in places like California, but in that state, as you say, it seems that the fear of Gore's environmentalism has hurt him among lunch-bucket union Democrats. And that's why this traditionally Democratic state may be in play.
WOODRUFF: It's a state where coal is big. And for those folks who worry about the coal industry and the income that they earn, the jobs that they have from that industry, much of what Al Gore has said is threatening to them. Rightly or wrongly, they feel threatened by it.
SCHNEIDER: Gore has used the environmental issue in his book, "Earth in the Balance," to appeal to soccer moms, who are very concerned about the environment, suburban voters and also, of course, to help fend off the threat from Ralph Nader. But we are seeing West Virginia, there can be a downside to that strong environmentalism.
SHAW: This ground war is just a marvel. To think that at 7:32 Eastern time, CNN cannot call Ohio, which as you indicated, is a Republican must. It's been a tradition. We can't call other states, West Virginia. This is a marvel.
GREENFIELD: I think what Bill Schneider said, I guess it's two- and-a-half hours ago -- I think we'll be talking about this for hours -- that this is a country fundamentally divided on two of the central premises of any election: Is it time for a change? or do you want to stay the course? And this country appears to be, in an issue after issue, so far cutting it right down the middle.
SHAW: And you know Governor Bush's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, said that he thought the reason why he lost to Bill Clinton was that the American people wanted a change and not surprisingly, former president Bush says he believes in this instance, tonight on this election 2000, the American people want a change and will elect his son.
WOODRUFF: Some kind of change, maybe prosperity, they want to continue. They want a change in style of leadership. Maybe they want a change in values, which is something that George W. Bush, the son, talked a lot about during the campaign.
SCHNEIDER: What we are finding is that a remarkable number of Americans, 50 percent, sometimes more and sometimes...
SHAW: Let me interrupt you for a moment. I'm getting some information. CNN now declares that Governor Bush has won another state in the south. This one, Georgia and its 13 electoral votes.
SCHNEIDER: That's expected and that is an important win for Governor Bush.
GREENFIELD: And it illustrates what we were pointing out. The fact that we say a state is too close to call doesn't necessarily mean that the state is really in play or it's 50/50. It simply means at that moment we can't do it. Georgia is a state that President Clinton contested, actually carried it in one of his...
WOODRUFF: In '92 by one percentage point.
GREENFIELD: ... And then lost it by a couple. But it is certainly no shot that these southern states ought to be falling like dominoes for George W. Bush. I mean ever since the civil rights revolution of '64, the South has been a state that's very hard for Democrats to win. And you've got to be from the South or a border state to do it, Carter, Clinton.
SHAW: This is how our electoral map looks at 7:34 Eastern time. Governor Bush far ahead of Vice President Gore, 54 electoral votes to 3 so far. In the yellow, you see, wherever you see yellow on our electoral map, that means that that state in particular is too close to call.
WOODRUFF: One of those states, Bernie, too close to call, Ohio. We have been saying, of course, all the polls that were done leading up to this election showed it was going to be pretty comfortably in George W. Bush's corner. But it's also a state that Bill Clinton won narrowly two times in 1992 and 1996. So, it's -- even though we said no Republican's ever one the White House without it.
GREENFIELD: Excuse me, I know it sounds like I'm being rude. We have a call to make and it is a significant one. In the state of Virginia, former Governor George Allen has defeated and unseated Senator Charles Robb. Charles Robb, a two-term senator, former governor, once thought to be possible presidential material, involved in various personal problems several years ago, barely beat Oliver North in a very hot race in '94. This time George Allen has defeated him. And this represents a pickup and a significant one because it makes Democrats' attempt to capture the Senate that much harder. Their most vulnerable incumbent has fallen.
SCHNEIDER: And that means the Democrats have picked up a seat in the Senate in Florida. The Republicans have picked up a Senate seat by defeating Senator Robb in Virginia. So, they are even-Steven as of right now.
GREENFIELD: And since it's a 56-46 majority.
SHAW: Quite an upset there, the son-in-law of the late president Lyndon Baines Johnson.
WOODRUFF: Married to Linda Johnson. This is a race, of course, we have seen many of the ads because three of us live in Washington D.C., one of us lives in New York. You don't see as many...
GREENFIELD: The heartland.
WOODRUFF: ... Right, the heartland of America, Manhattan, West 57th Street.
SCHNEIDER: Some of us were born in Virginia.
WOODRUFF: But we have been seeing a lot of the ads and there have been some very tough ones in the Robb-Allen race. You know, there are many people who have said that Chuck Robb in this campaign never really seemed to many people like he wanted it. Now, you know, I'm not comfortable saying that from here, but I think it was something that the analysts...
SCHNEIDER: Well, remember, Virginia has become more and more solidly Republican over the years. I mean, the legislature is predominantly Republican. Now they have two Republican senators. The governor has been Republican for some time. Virginia has been one of the southern states that's really drifted into the GOP.
GREENFIELD: And I think it's fair that in '94, it was often said that each, that Robb and Oliver North were each running against the only person they could conceivably beat that year. And in fact, now that Chuck Robb has faced a stronger incumbent -- remember in '94 there was an independent Republican that ran against North with the blessing of the other senator, John Warner. This time the Republicans were united and they took it.
SHAW: Well, since we have some electoral goodies on the table, let's reset the table and take a look at how the balance of power is shaping up at this hour on Capitol Hill.
And Wolf Blitzer is here in our election night newsroom to keep us up to date -- Wolf. BLITZER: Bernie, with that Republican pickup in Virginia, the Democratic pickup in Florida, let's take a look at the new balance of power in the U.S. Senate. The numbers are as follows. Democrats of course need five in order to carry that -- to become the majority in the U.S. Senate. We're waiting for those numbers. That's it, the numbers are even. There's no pick up right now because the Democrats have won one in Florida. The Republicans have won one in Virginia. No change so far.
There are two Senate incumbents who have been reelected. We'd like to call those winners right now. Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, the Republican reelected over Ted Celeste. Robert Byrd, the Democrat in West Virginia, the long-time senator reelected in West Virginia. No great surprises in those two races, Stuart Rothenberg. But the Chuck Robb defeat in Virginia, is somewhat of a surprise.
ROTHENBERG: Two points: Well, first in the Florida race, I think the Republicans knew McCollum was behind. They were hoping that he would slide through with getting a draft from George W. Bush. Obviously that hasn't happened in Florida with the presidential race too close to call. And in Virginia, you know, that's a smaller version of the presidential race. George Allen, a former governor, talked about big government versus small government, very likable, personable guy. Chuck Robb said he could win this election on issues, issues like guns and health care, education. Didn't work out that way. We will have to see whether it works out that way in the presidential race.
BLITZER: Let's take a look at the House of Representatives, and important race. In Kentucky, we're now ready to call Anne Northup the winner, the Republican, over Eleanor Jordan in tough, tough race. Why was this one so closely watched, Stuart Rothenberg?
ROTHENBERG: Because the Democrats threw everything but the kitchen sink at Anne Northup. The AFL-CIO was in there very early, advertising very heavily, all Democratic groups. And, Wolf, Democrats believe that if they knock off a handful of Republican incumbents, if they take over the House, that they are going to have to knock off a handful of Republican incumbents if they are going to take over the House. They thought Anne Northup was in that group. They fell short there.
BLITZER: In the balance of power in the House of Representatives, still no change, no pick-ups as of right now. The Republicans have won 12, the Democrats have won eight, one independent. It stays as it was before.
Let's take a look at the gubernatorial race in North Carolina. We are now ready to call Mike Easley the Democrat reelected over Richard Vinroot in North Carolina.
And too close to call in West Virginia, Cecil Underwood challenged by Bob Wise.
These gubernatorial races, there are 11, some of these do suggest some national implications. BLITZER: Oh, absolutely, Wolf. You can't talk about governors in terms of the balance of power the way you can in the House and the Senate. But let's remember that governors appoint senators if there's a vacancy -- we've had some of that recently. They're involved in redistricting and reapportionment and could be involved in the 2004 presidential race. The governors matter.
BLITZER: So as of right now, Stuart Rothenberg, if we look at balance of power in the Senate and the House of Representatives, it's basically going as a lot of people, including yourself, had thought would be the case?
ROTHENBERG: At the moment, the election is a status quo election. There are plenty of contests to go. And, in fact, for the Democrats in the house, they're looking toward the West Coast, California, Utah, Washington state for big wins there. So we have to wait until we get to a couple more time zones.
BLITZER: Opportunities for four or five potential pickups in California alone for the Democrats.
ROTHENBERG: Right. Clearly Kentucky has been a good state for the Republicans this year in the congressional races and the presidential. Let's look elsewhere.
SHAW: Stuart Rothenberg, we'll be back to you.
Back to Bernie on the national desk.
SHAW: And our election night courage will continue when we come back.
HARRIS: Leon Harris reporting here live from CNN Interactive, where tonight what we've done is we've constructed our Web site here in a way that's going to allow you to cover this very close election as it unfolds across the country in a very unique way. Go to our Web site at CNN.com, and what you'll find there is a "you decide the states" feature, where you get to pick which states you think Al Gore or George W. Bush will win.
You select the state, you select the winner of that state. The colors will change, and you can compare it to the map on the right, which shows you the actual winners of the states. And in the end, you get the final tally and find out whether or not you were right. You don't win anything, except maybe a little pride.
Now, back to the national desk for more coverage.
WOODRUFF: All right, sorry. We are so carried away with what's going on tonight, we want to talk about it with everybody. Hal Bruno is with us once again to take a look at some of those states we can't call yet -- Hal, over at your map.
BRUNO: Judy, let's take a look at two states that right now are too close to call -- that's Ohio and West Virginia -- and the battle within the battle for the Ohio River Valley.
Let's take a look at Ohio first. The good news for George Bush in the early returns is that Al Gore is not doing as well as a Democrat has to do up in Cuyahoga County, which is Cleveland. He's underperforming there.
The worrisome news for George Bush is over here in Cincinnati, which is the Republican stronghold, Bush is not doing as well as he should do in the early returns. In order to win this state, the Republican has to be real strong in Cincinnati and all through central Ohio. The Democratic strength is up here in the north.
Now let take a look at West Virginia. You know, West Virginia three times in the last 50 years has voted Republican. It's the most Democratic state in the presidential campaigns. But not tonight. It's still too close to call. But the bad news for Al Gore is down here in the coal mining regions, in the southwest. Al Gore is not running as well as a Democrat has to run. And the contrast is that George Bush so far is doing well over here in Huntington and in Charleston.
Now Bill Schneider was right on the money when he was talking about the economy versus the environment in West Virginia. Down here in the southwest part of West Virginia, that's where they do mountain- top mining. And the people down there were very concerned that Al Gore's environmental policies would hurt their economy.
They also were concerned about his policies regarding Appalachian coal, which is high sulfur burning. Gore tried to explain he was going to punish the power plants, not the mines.
The other big fight in West Virginia was between the NRA and the United Mine Workers. The United Mine Workers is all out for Al Gore, but the NRA was fighting against that because the miners down in West Virginia, they like their guns and they like to hunt.
GREENFIELD: Hal, it sounds like you're describing exactly with real votes what our Bill Schneider was describing, that when you pull a union vote, you think you're pulling a Democratic vote. But if the social issues are bothering them, if the Democrats are on the wrong side on the social issues, those union votes are going to be pulled, and they're not going to vote for the Democrat. You think that's what's going on in the southwest, as you were pointing to?
BRUNO: That's exactly what's going on throughout the Ohio River Valley, Jeff. And it's not only the social issue, it's also that all- important economic issue of jobs. The same things has happened in eastern Kentucky and to a certainty extent down in southwest Pennsylvania. That's why I call it the battle for the Ohio River Valley.
WOODRUFF: But, Hal, I have to ask you, you know, this is a state Bill Clinton won twice. Is there that much difference between how these people perceive Bill Clinton and Al Gore?
BRUNO: Yes, Judy, there is a big difference, because with Bill Clinton the environment was not the major issue that it's been for Al Gore throughout his political career. He is seen as the environmental man. And in West Virginia, that caused -- is causing a lot of worries.
It's still a battleground. It's still too close to call, but there's no doubt that Al Gore has trouble there.
SHAW: Is part of that trouble, Hal Bruno, the millions and millions of dollars thrown into this battle by the National Rifle Association?
BRUNO: And how. That's trouble with the capital T. As I said, the United Mine Workers union went flat out for Al Gore in West Virginia, as it has in other states, Pennsylvania, for example. But the NRA was in there in force. I mean, Charlton Heston, Moses himself, was campaigning in West Virginia on the gun issue.
WOODRUFF: All right, Hal Bruno, and much more we want to talk to you about tonight. I'm tempted to ask you about Ralph Nader and what he says about there's no difference between the candidates. We can save that for later.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, Larry King with the man who ran on the Republican ticket for president four years ago, Bob Dole.
WOODRUFF: A big call to make. CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column. This a state both campaigns desperately wanted to win, the state of Florida fought over very hard, the state with the Republican governor named Bush, the brother of the Republican nominee.
Jeff Greenfield, this is something that is not making the Bush campaign happy tonight.
GREENFIELD: This is roadblock the size of a boulder to George W. Bush's path to the White House. They had counted these 25 electoral votes from the moment George Bush entered the campaign, before he was even nominated. The Democrats have a very tough time in Florida.
Whether it was Social Security, the turnout, Joe Lieberman, now George W. Bush has to look to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and those smaller states really become critical.
WOODRUFF: There's a disagreement, we've been hearing, at least what we're hearing out of the Bush campaign. We can ask Candy Crowley and others about this later. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Karl Rove, who's been the chief strategist for Al Gore -- for George Bush, said the other day -- candy, are you available? We want to ask -- I'll ask you this question.
Karl Rove was telling us -- I saw this quoted just the other day -- as saying there were a number of ways they could win this election without Florida. Is that -- do they still believe that's the case? CROWLEY: They still believe that's the case. As easily as about 10 minutes ago, I asked, look, do you really think you can win this without Florida? And they say yes and run down a long list of states that they have to have. But boy, you begin to look at those other big battleground states -- Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan -- they become so much more important now. This is a huge problem here, but they have said for the past couple of days, look, we think we can win this without Florida. Nonetheless, they spent 24 of the last 48 hours of the campaign in Florida. That's how important it was to them. So this is not a happy moment for the Bush campaign.
WOODRUFF: Candy, you've been with the campaign throughout the last year and more. Looking back, were there any warning signs in there?
CROWLEY: Early on, they talked about how, you know, Florida didn't lean that Republican. They got upset when we said, well, here's a state that leans Republican and Jeb Bush is the governor, therefore, they should take it, that they know this is really tough for us. But it really was one that they counted in their column, that they thought they could use as a base of votes from which to get to that magic 270.
So they have said all along, we knew this was going to be tough. They knew the seniors and the Medicare issues and the Social Security issues were going to be tough for them, because they knew that the Democrats had a very aggressive campaign out there: phone campaigns and brochures talking about George Bush's Social Security issues. So they it was going to be tough.
I do believe, though, up to this very moment they thought Florida would come their way.
SHAW: John King, talk about the psychological warfare involved here. Here, you have Governor Bush, who went into Arkansas and Tennessee in an obvious effort to embarrass both men, favored sons from those states, and also to try to convey the message that this will be the president, if he's elected, to bind up wounds and have dialogue.
Psychologically, Al Gore seeing that happen, and yet, he gets Florida tonight. Is this a shot in the arm for the Gore campaign?
KING: It certainly is, Bernie, and the first big surprise of the night. What the Gore campaign would tell you is despite the spin from the Bush camp that those trips to Tennessee and Arkansas were not psychology, they were simple mathematics, that the Bush camp realized Florida was slip -- slipping away, excuse me, and realized it had to find 25 electoral votes elsewhere.
Now, the Gore campaign entered the night thinking they would win 15 states and the District of Columbia solid. We should make clear that includes Pennsylvania and Michigan. They're confident they're going to win those, although our early information is that those states are very tough battlegrounds. But if they won those 15 and the District of Columbia, that gets them to 227 electoral votes, 43 shy. You throw in 25 from Florida, just 18 shy now. They have to look for those other 18 votes, assuming they win all the rest of their targets. This a major boost for the Gore campaign, a cheer going up here in Nashville, a small crowd outside.
But as the projections were being made and the calls being made, you hear the gasps and the cheers, the biggest cheer of the night just moments ago when we called Florida for the vice president; 25 big electoral votes.
We should note, although it was expected to go Republican because of Governor Jeb Bush, Bill Clinton did win the state back in 1996. And as we see these other states, the dynamic Hal Bruno, Bill Schneider have been talking about, many Democrats say that what we're seeing here is areas with more suburbs -- and Florida is a growing suburban state -- tend to be trending Democratic. The old reliable Democratic states with rural areas, they tend to be trending Republican.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King, Candy Crowley, we'll be back with you later. But right now, we want to go quickly to Washington, where our Larry King is with Bob Dole -- Larry.
L. KING: OK, senator, what do you make of this?
BOB DOLE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, in '96, when I saw Florida come in, we knew we were behind, but I think this -- I think somebody said in the program there that's why Bush was going to Arkansas and Tennessee and other states, because I think he knew that this was going to be one way or the other very, very close.
They can still get there, but this certainly makes it tough.
L. KING: The way John King just ran it down, if -- if the Democrats get Pennsylvania and Michigan on top of this -- we're going to have 16 states reporting at the top of the hour, is this going to be an all-night horse race?
DOLE: If they get Michigan and Pennsylvania?
L. KING: Yes.
DOLE: Well, then it gets real tough, because you've got Ohio right now too close to call, West Virginia. It's going to take a lot of those small states. You're going to have Missouri, you're going to have Wisconsin, you're going to have Iowa, states that we haven't had in the past few elections.
But it's a very close race. I mean, I think...
L. KING: What surprised you tonight so far?
DOLE: Well, I -- you know, I just sort felt like everybody else, with Jeb Bush as governor, and Florida, you know, I know is very -- Social Security, is a lot of different things in that state. But I thought Bush would eke it out.
It didn't happen. That doesn't mean it's over. So my view is they've got to be very disappointed. But the fact that even New Hampshire, even though it's only four electoral votes, has come in for Bush is encouraging, because, in my view, the newspaper up there, "The Union Leader," has ridden a lot of Republicans out of the party, moderate Republicans. But to come back and win that state and what the margin was.
Now, if they can win Maine and some other small states, but it takes quite a while to add up to 25.
L. KING: And how about your old bailiwick, the Senate? How does that look? So far, it's they've lost one -- Democrats have lost one, Republicans have lost one.
DOLE: We pick up one in Virginia, we lose -- well, we lose -- we lose one in Florida. I understand some of the others are very close. You know, I don't think it'll happen. We'd have to lose a number of seats. And of course, if Gore and Lieberman win, then we pick up one in Connecticut. So it could end up 50/50, but we would still win, because Lieberman would have to exit the Senate and we'd pick up a seat there.
L. KING: What does overall this tell us? Does this tell us that is a country in division or close to the middle?
DOLE: I think maybe a little of each. I mean, we're obviously divided, but I think we are fairly close. I think the fringe candidates, Buchanan is hardly registering. Nader not doing as well as anticipated.
And I don't say -- you know, he's got some pretty good ideas. I watched him on your show this last week. But I think most people are finding themselves, they're moderate. They're moderate conservatives, moderate liberals. But I think most of them are in the center. That's what Eisenhower always preached back when he was president of the United States, and that hasn't changed.
L. KING: And what about the House?
DOLE: I think the House, we could pick up a few seats. You know, we've seen a few of these -- I haven't seen the whole list. But in Kentucky, for example, two Republican seats were in danger. They prevailed. I haven't seen other races, but I think overall -- and keep your eye on Nebraska for a Senate seat. I think it's a dead heat about now. Governor Nelson was heavily favored, but it's a big Republican state. Bush with will win by a big margin, might be a pickup, and we may need it if we lose some of the others.
L. KING: Are you surprised at the apparent strong showing of Hillary? We have no story yet, but apparently there's a strong showing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) out in the city.
DOLE: Yes, I understand there's a big turnout in the city. I think she was favored to win. I don't know -- I hadn't even heard a number on that race. The last time I heard was about four or five points, maybe even greater or less. But you know, she goes in there with not only with the Clinton name, sort of a celebrity status, but the president is very popular there. She's very popular in New York. She picked a good state to run in.
L. KING: Should the vice president have used President Clinton more, in your political opinion?
DOLE: Well, I think if he wins the answer is obvious. If he loses the answer's obvious. So we'll see what happens.
L. KING: Either way, we'll have the answer...
DOLE: Because it's going to be scape-goating time. And one thing I said, I'm glad that when the election is over, they won't be talking about the last election. That's the one I was in. They'll be talking about this election.
L. KING: Thanks so much, Alan.
DOLE: Thank you.
L. KING: Always great to see you, Bob. I called you Alan...
DOLE: That's all right.
L. KING: It's close -- well, you know him...
L. KING: Senator Bob Dole, the vice president -- the presidential nominee, former vice presidential nominee as well of the Republican Party.
As we throw you back to Atlanta, we're going to have 16 states and the District of Columbia checking in. We'll have projections and maybe standoffs. Stay tuned to CNN throughout the night. Back to Atlanta for more coverage.
WOODRUFF: It is 8:00 on the East Coast. Sixteen states the polls have closed, the District of Columbia. And We have an important call to make in the state of Michigan. But we're showing you Texas. No surprise there, George Bush wins. The stunner at this hour is that we can call Al Gore the winner in the Wolverine State.
GREENFIELD: This is the state where Reagan Democrats were born. Working class people who went Republican on values issues and then on the economy and then on strength. Clinton got them back in '92 and '96, a bitterly contested state. Al Gore takes it and the map for Bush gets even tougher.
WOODRUFF: In the state of Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, too close to call at this hour. Still being battled out by the vice president and Governor Bush. GREENFIELD: This one Bush looks like is going to have to win to build his margin.
WOODRUFF: In Illinois, -- I'm sorry, Missouri, too close to call. This one is -- and we're skipping ahead to Illinois, Al Gore the winner there.
GREENFIELD: These Midwest battleground states which George Bush's campaign thought they were going to be very competitive in, they haven't won one yet, and with Michigan and Illinois and Pennsylvania too close to call, but you add Michigan and Illinois to Florida, and Al Gore's people must be feeling very good about now.
WOODRUFF: And again, in the state of Missouri, its 11 electoral votes still being fought out. This is the state where the governor running for the Senate, Mel Carnahan, killed tragically in a plane crash through this election in this state, really upside-down for some time.
GREENFIELD: And again, this is one of the states we always point to because except for 1956, it has gone with the winner in every election since 1900.
WOODRUFF: In New Jersey, CNN able to say that Al Gore is the winner. George Bush was in there campaigning this very weekend. But it appears that Al Gore has won New Jersey and its 15 electoral votes. Massachusetts, no surprise, a state the Democrats can count on in just about every election you can think of, Al Gore winning and taking its 12 electoral votes. The state of Tennessee, it's Al Gore's home state, but he is not able to count on it. Jeff Greenfield, it's too close to call.
GREENFIELD: But again, in the Bush calculation, when they told us, well, we can win without Florida, a state like Tennessee was one of the states they had in mind. He went there, kind of drew a line in the sand, said Al Gore may win Washington, D.C., but he's not winning Tennessee. We can't say one way or the other, but if this one doesn't fall for Bush it's trouble.
WOODRUFF: Maryland, the Free State, reliably Democratic, and Al Gore wins that, takes its 10 electoral votes. Alabama, a state I guess we thought George Bush would be able to say at this hour, another one too close to call. Connecticut, Al Gore the winner in the Constitution State and its eight electoral votes. Oklahoma, its eight electoral votes go to Texas Governor George W. Bush, the governor of the neighboring state of Texas. Mississippi, another win for the Texas governor and its seven electoral votes. Kansas, Bob Dole's home state, we just heard from him, in -- solidly in George Bush's corner and its six electoral votes.
Up in the far Northeastern corner of the United States, Maine, its four electoral votes still up for grabs, still being battled out between Gore and Bush and finally, the nation's capitol, the District of Columbia, no surprise at all, Al Gore the winner. And finally, Delaware in this 8:00 count, Al Gore the winner. That is a state where George Bush had been making threatening noises but it looks like Al Gore has called it.
Here is how -- and we want to add that we are able at this hour to say the state of North Carolina is in George Bush's corner. This is a poll that closed about half an hour ago in North Carolina and its 14 electoral votes go to George Bush.
Looking at the map, the national map at this hour, you need 270 to win to become president. At this hour it couldn't be any closer. I guess it could be, by two votes, but Bush has 121, Al Gore at 119. It is a cliff-hanger, gentlemen.
SHAW: Just a quick observation -- before that observation, exit polling from you, Bill Schneider.
SCHNEIDER: Well, we do. We have some exit polling from the state of Michigan. The AFL-CIO endorsed George -- Al Gore back in October. And that was a critical, critical factor in his victory in Michigan. I should add, by the way, that some of the -- all right, well, here we have the vote among union household voters in Michigan.
And as you can see, the unions delivered big time. Two to one for Al Gore over George W. Bush, and union households made up 42 percent of the voters in Michigan. Gore's big victory in Michigan was a union victory. Sweet victory for Al Gore, sweet victory for John Sweeney and the AFL-CIO.
Now, what happened in Florida? Well, there we had a lot of new residents move there, getting new jobs. We found that among voters in Florida that those who said their family finances were better voted very heavily for Al Gore. They were crucial in Gore's carrying the state of Florida because 54 percent of the voters in Florida said their finances had improved over the last four years. So clearly, the improvement in the economy in Florida, the fact that they came there, those new residents looking for jobs, paid off big time for Al Gore.
GREENFIELD: And remember early tonight, one of the keys we asked is was it the economy, stupid? I think what you're telling us -- I mean, you can speak for yourself -- is that in Florida and Michigan, those union members that had been lost to the Democratic Party all through the '80s and came back hoping that Clinton would make things better for them, it seems that it was the economy, stupid or intelligent. But in any event, in both those states, union members and people who thought incomes were better went solidly for Gore, may helped make the difference.
SHAW: Observation about the Midwest, state in the Midwest. Illinois, my home state, with the vice president taking Illinois, the simple headline is that the brothers Daley came through for Al Gore. William Daley, the vice president's national campaign manager; Richard J. Daley -- Richard M. Daley, the Mayor of Chicago, they came through. There was some concern as recently as a month ago, but obviously the machine turned out.
GREENFIELD: And apparently all these voters were alive. Wasn't always the case in Chicago.
SHAW: Usually in Chicago we vote early and often.
SCHNEIDER: Brothers Daley came through for Al Gore. The brother Bush did now come through for his brother, George W. Florida did not hold for his brother.
WOODRUFF: It's interesting, we talk about the unions and you both had talked about the union vote. All this happening while union membership is declining in this country. So whatever the organized labor has to turn out in the United States these days it has to work even harder because as a percentage of the work force, organized labor is a smaller number -- smaller percentage than ever in history.
GREENFIELD: And that's why John Sweeney, may be one of the people...
WOODRUFF: Head of the AFL-CIO.
GREENFIELD: ... Al Gore owes a great debt of gratitude. As it was mentioned, he is the head of the AFL-CIO, committed to Gore when Bradley was still a threat last October, poured millions upon millions of dollars into male voter turnout. And if Al Gore were to win tonight -- that's a long way away, John Sweeney is someone who's going to be at that table in January.
SHAW: Can you think of the agony and the anguish unfurling in the Bush camp and the Bush family? I can recall interviewing Prescott Bush, Jeb Bush's son on "INSIDE POLITICS," and I asked him what happens..
WOODRUFF: George P.
SHAW: Yes, what happens if your dad does not deliver for your uncle? And he said, well, we've told him we're going to read him out of the party. He said that's a joke. And we had Governor Bush over the past couple of days refer to my little brother, saying that he's assured me that when it's all said and done, we're going to win in Florida. But this is a deep embarrassment.
WOODRUFF: Well, I think the question we have to ask now, with Florida gone, we've given Florida to Gore. We've given Michigan to Gore, Illinois, we knew was going to happen, what is it that the Texas governor needs to do to put a victory together? And I think it gets much more problematical for him now that we know the numbers or the states are falling the way they are. In fact, Jeff Greenfield, do some quick calculating. I mean, what would George W. Bush have to do now, assuming these calls stay as they are, to put 270 together?
GREENFIELD: Well, Pennsylvania looms very large as one of the big battleground states that he has a shot in. And then you have to go down the middle of the country and pick up Arkansas, pick up Tennessee, pick up Missouri. Later, pick up Wisconsin, try for something in the Pacific Northwest because that 270 electoral votes...
WOODRUFF: Which is not out of the realm of possibility.
GREENFIELD: It is not out of the realm of possibility, it just gets tough.
SCHNEIDER: And Judy, let me add that the Nader factor could loom large here because in some of those states that are left that Al Gore hopes to pick up, like Wisconsin and Minnesota and Oregon and Washington, the Nader vote could be absolutely crucial. If he takes enough Democrats away from Al Gore, they could go for Bush.
GREENFIELD: And while we talk about the presidency, the Senate is up for grabs. And we have calls to make, if you want to call them calls, some of these calls are telling you that they're not calls. In Michigan, where Spencer Abraham is battling Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow, we say that race is too close to call. In New Jersey, where Jon Corzine, the Goldman Sachs executive who dumped $60 million of his own money into this against Congressman Bob Franks, we are saying at this moment that race is too close to call.
Probably one of the most-watched Senate races, Senator John Ashcroft running against Governor Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash. His widow Jean says she would take the seat if Mel Carnahan gets more votes. That one is too close to call. Now, we are calling Joe Lieberman the winner in Connecticut.
But of course, if Al Gore wins, Joe Lieberman will have to resign the Senate. But if not, he at least has a day job. Now here is a pick-up. In Delaware, Governor Thomas Carper has unseated Senator William Roth, a 30-year veteran of the United States Senate, chairman of the inevitably described powerful Senate Finance Committee. Age was a real issue in this race. Senator Roth had the misfortune to collapse while a TV camera was running. That is a pick-up for the Democrats. Roth is out, one of the lions of the Senate gone.
WOODRUFF: All right, while we're looking at the Senate and some of these other very, very important elections taking place, let's go over to the man who is keeping a close eye on all of this, our Wolf Blitzer. He's over there with Stu Rothenberg -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Judy, with that pick-up, that Democratic pick-up in Delaware, the new balance of power in the Senate, let's take a look at where it stands right now. There were 35 Republican holdovers, 31 Democrats, nine Republican winners tonight, seven Democratic winners. That brings the new number now 44 in the Republican camp in the Senate, 38 Democrats will be in the Senate at least. Eighteen race still undecided.
We have some other Senate races we're ready to call right now. All as predicted, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, easily re-elected in Texas.
In Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum the incumbent easily re-elected, defeating Ron Klink, the Democrat.
In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Senator Edward Kennedy easily defeats Jack E. Robinson, as expected.
In Tennessee, Bill Frist, Dr. Bill Frist, the incumbent, he is re-elected in Tennessee. In Maryland, another easy race for Paul Sarbanes, the longtime incumbent, beating Paul Rappaport.
In the state of Mississippi, the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, once again easily re-elected.
And in Maine, Senator Olympia Snowe, the Republican, moderate Republican, re-elected once again.
Stuart Rothenberg, there is a change, though, that we're seeing some changes in the U.S. Senate?
ROTHENBERG: Yes, we sure are, Wolf. Roth, as Jeff mentioned, a five-term U.S. senator, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a powerful political figure, Roth IRAs -- many people know that -- named after him.
Tom Carper, however, was also a very established figure -- is AN established figure, much younger, 54 years old, was the at-large congressman, the state treasurer, well-known figure. In fact, polls show that both men were highly regarded. But I have to mention, Wolf, a year or two ago there were a lot of Republican insiders who thought that maybe it would be better if Senator Roth stepped aside, the Republicans nominated Mike Castle, a congressman, a former governor, that he would have a better chance of holding the seat. Roth didn't think so. They didn't.
BLITZER: All right, speaking of Delaware, we're ready to call the next governor of Delaware: Ruth Ann Minner, the Democrat, wins that open seat, defeating John Burris.
And one important ballot initiative we're ready to call at this point right now, in Michigan, there was a very controversial voucher initiative that would have allowed vouchers, money, government money to go to private parochial schools. That ballot initiative in Michigan, we're now saying, will go down to defeat, no vouchers in Michigan.
Tell us why that's important.
ROTHENBERG: Well, the vouchers would have given students about $3,100 under current figures for students in schools that had a low graduation rate. Senator John McCain actually cut a TV ad for the pro-voucher people. The Michigan Catholic Conference was supportive of the Michigan chamber, but, of course, the Michigan Education Association was strongly opposed, spent a lot of money against it. And these voucher initiatives have very big problems when they get in front of the voters, and they seem to go down. And this one went down as well.
BLITZER: And there's another voucher initiative in California. We'll watch for that.
But for now, back to Bernie on the national desk.
SHAW: Thanks very much. And quickly to Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas. In Austin, Candy Crowley covering the Bush headquarters there, and in Nashville, our man John King.
As you know, the CNN Electoral College count stands at 121 for Governor Bush, 119 for Vice President Gore.
John king, are things evolving the way your people there you're covering expected them?
KING: Well certainly the way they hoped, Bernie. They very much needed Florida, given Governor Bush's strength in places like West Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, traditionally Democratic states. They very much needed Florida to offset that.
We're told that the vice president was having dinner with his wife and Senator Joe Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman. When we called Florida and Michigan, we're told cheers went up throughout the room, some hugs and kisses around the room, then immediately back to work.
Even at this hour, the vice president and Joe Lieberman still making telephone calls, we're told, into Missouri, into New Mexico, into Colorado.
Also significantly, we should tell you, you were just discussing a few moments ago, how indebted the vice president might be to organized labor if he pulls this off. The polls have closed in Ohio. I spoke moments ago to Steve Rosenthal, the national AFL-CIO political director. He said the banks in Cincinnati and in Cleveland, about 350 to 400 phones total. He says they have e-mailed them the lists of union members in New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. Those e-mail lists get fed into the computers. The computers automatically begin dialing those union households. Union workers in the Midwest now trying to help the vice president throughout the mountain southwest.
SHAW: And, Candy Crowley, to my original question: Are things evolving tonight the way folks in the Bush camp are expecting?
CROWLEY: I think you've got to look at both Florida and Michigan and know that this is a disappointment for them. But I will also tell you that they talk a lot about, you know, the changing strategy over the years, that, yes, you know, Florida was always considered something a Republican had to win. But they say the demographics have changed. People have moved, the states are different. Thus, you see George Bush's strength in West Virginia and Iowa and all those states that John just mentioned.
Can they win this without Florida and Michigan, which, as you know we've both declared for Al Gore? Bush strategists say absolutely. But clearly, this is not an easy thing to do. And the focus becomes on Pennsylvania, on Missouri, on Wisconsin, on Minnesota. And slowly, what we're getting down to is some real must wins for George Bush.
SHAW: Is Governor Bush still having dinner with his parents and his brother, the Florida governor?
CROWLEY: Governor Bush was at dinner for about an hour with his family. He was supposed to watch the returns from a local hotel here, but we're now told that the governor will instead watch them at the governor's mansion. Read into that what you want, just a change of plans here. From the Four Seasons, now he's going to watch the election returns at the governor's mansion.
SHAW: OK, thank you, Candy Crowley, John King -- outstanding reporting from John King in what the unions, the AF of L-CIO, is doing with their union members in the Midwest, operating phone banks, calling union members in the Southwest to get out the vote.
WOODRUFF: Great story to be written after this election about just exactly what the unions did. I think some of us reporters were onto it, but it's a much bigger story, I think, than perhaps anyone had realized.
Tiny little omen here tonight -- omens are probably made to be broken -- no Republican has ever won the White House yet without winning the state of Illinois. We've already called Al Gore the winner in Illinois. Again, these things are made to be broken, but we just point that out.
We're going to take a break.
When we come back, much, much more of our election coverage.
WOODRUFF: It's 8:20 in the Eastern part of the United States. We've made some calls. We've got many more to make, many states we cannot tell you about. But this is our first look at the actual vote count. These are real human beings who cast real ballots all over the country.
Only 5 percent of the precincts reporting, and with that just 5 percent, you can see George Bush 54 percent of the vote, 3.3 million, Al Gore, 45 percent, 2.7 million. I think we have to say it's a little too early to know whether that represents anything or not.
This is the electoral vote that we can tell you at this hour based on the states that we've been able to call, based on our exit polling.
GREENFIELD: And key precincts.
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield helpfully reminds me. George Bush has amassed 121 electoral votes. His states are in red. Al Gore, 119 electoral votes, his states in blue, including important states we've been able to call in the last half hour of Florida and Michigan. But we are very much keeping an eye on the states in yellow. Those states are still being fought out. We are not able to tell you at this point whether they are Gore or Bush.
GREENFIELD: And one of the things we're going to be looking at as we go through the evening is the comparison between the popular vote total and the electoral map. Judy, you're absolutely right: 5 percent of the vote, huge states left out there. It doesn't tell you much. But we do keep reminding people, given the pre-election polls and at least the possibility this time, that one candidate could win the electoral vote and still lose the popular vote. That is a story we'll following as the night wears on.
WOODRUFF: It's happened three times in the history of the United States. And...
GREENFIELD: But never -- never in the 20th century.
WOODRUFF: Never in the -- always 19th century.
GREENFIELD: And never -- and never when we had such a democratic feeling. It happened at a time when we didn't elect our senators, when women couldn't vote, when blacks in much of the country couldn't vote. But we're not saying this is going to happen by a long shot. We're just saying we're keeping our eye on it.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield.
Now, what do I do next? Matalin and McCurry, it's my fault. I'm listening too hard to Jeff Greenfield here.
Mary Matalin, Mike McCurry, there's a lot to talk to you two about. A number of states have been called and there are a number of states still out there.
Mike McCurry, what do you make of the numbers so far?
MCCURRY: Well, I think the numbers are showing what I think we knew all along: It's a very, very close election and it's going to be a long evening.
I think the results in Florida have got to be bittersweet for the Bush family. Of course, the brother of Governor Bush, the governor -- sitting governor in Florida, that can't be a happy one for the Bush family.
But you know, let's credit Senator Lieberman running for vice president, who practically parked in Florida, worked very, very hard there. And I think we'll also see, as we get into behind the scenes of these numbers, that the argument that Al Gore made about Social Security and the future of that program really did have some real merit to the voters of Florida.
So, that is very significant and we'll have to see if that stands up as we move west.
WOODRUFF: Mary, Florida does, as Mike said, have to be a disappointment for the Bush campaign?
MATALIN: Well, you're -- I'm going to go out on a limb here. We have early data. The spread is 2 percent. The raw total is 4,000 votes at this point. If it continues at this pace, there are a half a million absentee ballots out there. I'm just telling you, this reminds me of Deukmejian in California: lost on Tuesday, won on Thursday.
WOODRUFF: I real -- what are you suggesting, Mary?
MATALIN: I'm suggesting when the real count is in, the absentee ballots are counted, that they're -- they are extensive in there, and that state's going to flip. I really feel that way.
Now, having said that, there was a strategy to lose Florida and Michigan, and carry on, and still get to 270 with some of the states that haven't been called yet, but look to be leaning in Bush's direction.
But I still feel like that absentee ballot operation there was so extraordinary -- and it is documented at a half a million -- that it more than covers the spread as it exists right now.
WOODRUFF: Mike, is that a plausible scenario?
MCCURRY: Not a likely scenario. It sounds like a little bit of wishful thinking, but I can understand with the numbers that close how Republicans might still want to think there's a chance there.
But you know, there is something very important: The closeness of these numbers so far, and as we are reporting it and talking about it and reflecting on it, is surely driving that turnout in the west, because people out west, who in past elections have been told that their votes aren't going to count, are suddenly realizing that there are very large stakes here, it's a very close election, and nobody is running away with it.
This may have a real significant impact on turnout out in the Pacific Northwest especially.
WOODRUFF: Mary, what about the state of Michigan? There clearly George W. Bush put in, you know, a really strong effort there. I mean, he was in and out of that state a number of times. He certainly fought hard there in the primary, lost that. But there was reason to believe he had a good shot at Michigan.
MATALIN: Well, it was a battleground state. He couldn't just give it up. We have a Republican governor there who worked hard. There are a lot of other things going on in that state, not the least of which was the voucher initiative, which the governor feared would be detrimental to Governor Bush's race there. And he had a heavy union effort.
So you couldn't just give it up. But of those big three, it was the one least expected to end up in Bush's column.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mary Matalin, Mike McCurry, we're going to come back to both of you for some time and throughout this night. We -- I want to...
GREENFIELD: I have one quick point. The UAW got election day off as part of its contract for the first time in its history. And I think when people look at Michigan and that union vote that Bill has told us about, once again, John Sweeney, once again (UNINTELLIGIBLE), election day off as a paid holiday, that may have turned Michigan around.
WOODRUFF: I just want to remind our viewers very quickly the states that we have said where the polls have closed but still we are not able to call a winner: Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
And I'm just told that I was -- I've just been made a liar. We are able to call the state of Alabama for Texas Governor George W. Bush. Governor Bush takes that -- the nine electoral votes in the state of Alabama, also known as the heart of Dixie.
SHAW: Also, CNN is calling the Senate race in New Jersey. Millionaire, multimillionaire Jon Corzine, who spent more than $60 million, has won the open seat, turning back the challenge by Republican Bob Franks. Corzine, a big winner in New Jersey, having spent lots of money in the process.
GREENFIELD: That's a hold.
WOODRUFF: I was going to say, it goes to show that for $55-or- $60 million you can buy your way into the United States Senate.
GREENFIELD: Well, in fact, the most important in terms of the balance of power. That's Frank Lautenberg's seat, so we count that as a hold for the Democrats. But unlike Al Checchi in California or Michael Huffington in California, this enormous, record-busting sum literally paid off.
SHAW: Back to the race for the White House: If you're just joining our coverage, this is the electoral vote count right now. It's this close. That's right. These figures are correct. Governor Bush with 130 votes, Vice President Al Gore with 119.
Bill Schneider, you wanted to make a point about this yellow map or states here on the map that are yellow. It doesn't necessarily mean what?
SCHNEIDER: It doesn't necessarily mean that those states are very close. It means that we're not ready to call them yet, because in some cases, there are unprecedented numbers of absentee ballots. For instance, in North Carolina four years ago, 60,000 ballots were cast by absentee. This year, half a million were counted absentee. So in many of those cases, where the state is yellow, it just means we're not ready to call them yet.
WOODRUFF: In fact, Mary Matalin was even saying in the state of Florida, even though CNN has called the state of Florida for Al Gore, Mary was making the point that there is something like, I think she said, half a million absentee ballots that...
SCHNEIDER: Well, when we do call the state, we've taken the absentee ballot count into account. When we call the state, we're pretty sure that state is going to go for the winner. It's just that when we have a state in yellow, that means we're not ready to call it yet. It doesn't necessarily mean that state is neck and neck.
SHAW: But then again, it could be neck and neck.
SCHNEIDER: It could be neck and neck. But that doesn't necessarily mean that.
GREENFIELD: But this is a critically important point. If you're just using exit polls, by definition, you can't count absentee ballots. But when we call a state or anybody else calls a state, they've weighed that into the equation...
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
GREENFIELD: ... which doesn't mean we can't be wrong.
SCHNEIDER: We don't want to mislead our viewers. Not every yellow state -- not every yellow state is neck and neck.
SHAW: David Peeler has been telling us for days -- he was just here at the beginning of our coverage, what's been 3 1/2 hours ago, that Mr. Corzine in the primary alone spent $30 million and here in the general another $31 million. So my, what an expensive seat.
WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of states that we are not able to call, I'm going to wait 13 seconds until I can say this. In the state of Arkansas where the polls are closing literally as I speak, the home state of President Bill Clinton we are not able to call. The polls close in Arkansas at 8:30 Eastern Time. And as of this hour, this moment, we are not able to call the result, the land of opportunity.
And looking once again, a quick check of the electoral map, George W. Bush racking up 130 electoral votes, his states are in red. Al Gore, the vice president, 119 electoral votes, his states are in blue.
And as Bill Schneider just very carefully pointed out, the states in yellow, we are not able to call them yet. It doesn't mean that they will end up close, it just means we don't have enough information at this hour, even though the polls have closed, we don't have enough information to put them in one corner or another.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Schneider, I believe you have some data.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, we do. Tennessee and Arkansas, these are states that are too close to call. Now how did that happen? Well, take a look at the voters in Tennessee. We asked them -- oh, here it is. In Arkansas. their opinion Bill Clinton as a person. These are his fellow Arkansans, 61 percent have an unfavorable personal view of Bill Clinton. So it doesn't look like Bill Clinton helped Al Gore very much in Arkansas. Now if we can shift to Tennessee, here's what we find. We asked the voters there in deciding how you vote, how important is it to you that Al Gore comes from Tennessee? And look at this, almost two-thirds of them said, you know, that's really not very important at all. So -- that's one reason the state is very close. If Al Gore does not carry the state of Tennessee, he'll be the first presidential candidate not to carry his home state since George McGovern in 1972.
WOODRUFF: And the first -- if he were to win the White House without winning Tennessee, he'd be the first since, what, James Polk -- James k. Polk. I looked this up today.
SCHNEIDER: Well, it depends -- well, let's see, Richard Nixon -- no, he didn't win the White House, so you'd have to go all the way back to James K. Polk. Nixon didn't carry California in 1960 but he lost.
WOODRUFF: I actually covered -- I covered that campaign so I can speak with authority.
SCHNEIDER: James K. Polk.
SHAW: I wasn't going to bring up that.
GREENFIELD: It's interesting you point out in Arkansas how the president is regarded because one of the things we're going to be looking at is what we call the Clinton factor and trying to figure out whether people who don't like Clinton as a person somehow put that on Al Gore. In Arkansas, it may be that the negative opinion of Bill Clinton is one of the reasons why maybe that's closer than certainly Al Gore would have hoped.
WOODRUFF: Weren't the polls showing at least in some instances people were willing to overlook Clinton's personal failings in their eyes because they agreed with policies and said that they would stick, theoretically...
GREENFIELD: On Clinton.
WOODRUFF: ...with the vice president.
GREENFIELD: Well, here's the line that our colleague Mark Shields often uses. If Bill Clinton drove through a car wash in a convertible with the top down, Al Gore would get wet.
WOODRUFF: Even if he were in the trunk, I think.
GREENFIELD: Even if he wasn't in the car. It may be that people are willing to forgive Clinton, but they -- you know, we're going to find out, but stick Al Gore with the responsibility for what they didn't like. This is something that we'll be finding out through the night.
SHAW: As they do in the National Football League, we'll throw a yellow flag on the anchor desk and say, if you're just joining us, Governor Bush is leading Vice President Gore 130 to 119 electoral votes in the race for the White House. We have much, much more to come. When we come back, "LARRY KING LIVE" with a special guest, and Wolf Blitzer, bringing us up to speed on the latest on the battle for the Hill and the balance of power. Back in a moment, wherever you're watching in the world. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WOODRUFF: It is 8:36 in the East Coast. CNN has a call to make, at least three quarters of a call to make in the state of Maine. Maine is one of only two states in the country that allows its electoral votes to be decide according to Congressional District. There are two of those districts in Maine. What we can say is that Al Gore will carry three of Maine's electoral votes and Bill Schneider, we are only able to say the fourth electoral vote is undetermined. Can you quickly explain what all of this means.
SCHNEIDER: I'll try. Maine has four electoral votes. There are two Congressional districts against one electoral vote for each district. If you carry the district, you get that electoral vote. Then, if you carry the entire state, you get two additional electoral votes because Maine has two electoral votes for the congressional districts and two for the state because it has two senators from Maine. So if you carry the state, you get two, if you carry each Congressional district, you get one for each district. The other state that does that is Nebraska. It divides its electoral votes up district by district.
WOODRUFF: At least this much of the Maine result I think has to be a personal disappointment for the Bush family. They have a longtime summer home there in Kennebunkport. George W. Bush was in there at least a couple of times campaigning, so -- but we will see, perhaps he'll be able to pull out -- one assumes he'll be able to pull out that vote. We don't know.
Larry King is in Washington with a special guest.
L. KING: Thank you, Judy, with three special guests. They are the honorable Ann Richards, former Democratic governor of Texas, Howard Baker, the former Senate majority leader, former Reagan chief of staff, and Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post."
Right up to what we know right now -- they just gave Maine -- how do you see it, Ann?
ANN RICHARDS (D), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: I don't know how to call it, Larry, and that is the honest to God truth since I know everything.
L. KING: You do.
RICHARDS: But tonight...
L. KING: You don't know.
RICHARDS: We're not going to know until we get to the West.
L. KING: Senator Baker.
HOWARD BAKER (R), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I agree with that. I think that at this point, I thought, had hoped that George Bush would be further along. But it's still too close to call
L. KING: Are you disappointed?
BAKER: Mildly, but it's not over yet. You know, it's not over, as Ann says, until we get results from the West in particular Pennsylvania.
L. KING: This is a Yogi night.
BOB WOODWARD, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It is. It's so close that it's scary.
L. KING: It ain't over until it's over.
WOODWARD: And what's interesting, to take a moment and think about the candidates, I remember talking to George McGovern, who was the Democratic nominee in '72 and he got killed by Nixon. I think McGovern won a single state, and I asked, what were you thinking on election day with all the polls showing that you have to lose. He said, I thought I was going to win. You, as a candidate, live in a bubble. Now those two candidates, one of them is going have his heart broken.
L. KING: But both said it would be close, didn't they, Ann? They kept saying it. Both were confident.
RICHARDS: Yes, yes, but saying it's close and feeling it in your heart, you know, that's another thing. Because you're out there. You got the crowds. They come to see you. They're with you, and you have to believe that you're going to carry that state. I think both of the candidates were told by their staff and by their pollsters you're going to win this election. I don't think there's any doubt that.
L. KING: Huge black turnout, surprising?
BAKER: Big turnout all over, you know, in every sector of society. It may, almost certainly will be a record turnout. And you know, regardless of who wins, that's a marvelous thing.
L. KING: And that also confounds the experts who predicted, what, 48 percent.
BAKER: Yes, I don't know anybody who predicted a massive turnout like we're seeing tonight.
L. KING: Why, Bob? Why are they coming out?
WOODWARD: I think people realized that their vote matters and that it is not just perfunctory. You actually go out and this might be the vote that carries -- I mean, Al Gore was running around and saying, one more vote in each precinct is the difference.
L. KING: I was asking if two months ago, could we have a popular winner different from an electoral winner?
RICHARDS: Yes, we could, but I don't think that's going to happen. One of the things that I think happened today -- tonight is that the press said this is going to be the closest race in history. That made people believe that their vote was important. The other thing is we had really hotly contested Senate races. We had some really contested Congressional races. Those are things that I'm really interested in. And I think that got the vote out, too. And when the vote turns out, the Democrats do well.
L. KING: Senator, how could Bush lose his brother's state and Gore possibly lose his own state?
WOODWARD: I think Gore will lose Tennessee as a matter of fact.
L. KING: You do?
BAKER: You haven't called it yet, but I was with Gore, I mean, with Bush five times in Tennessee and you could feel the enthusiasm. And I don't know anything about the rest of the country anymore, but I think I know something about Tennessee and my guess is that Bush will carry Tennessee.
L. KING: And what about Arkansas?
RICHARDS: I think we'll lose Tennessee and I think it is likely we will lose Arkansas and I don't think we need them to win.
L. KING: Going to win Pennsylvania?
RICHARDS: I think we will win Pennsylvania.
L. KING: They are still holding out on that. Are you surprised Ohio is still out there?
WOODWARD: Yes, I mean, look, the only wisdom is in the numbers and we don't have them now.
L. KING: Why is this so close? I mean, one would have made a case the country in good shape, Clinton didn't campaign, but he's got a 62-63 rating. Why is it even close?
WOODWARD: The analysts are going to have to figure that out. But obviously the undecided voters split.
RICHARDS: I think that the issues became the same issues in each camp. And the differentiation was very difficult. For example, I know in the exit polling that the issue of being sure that we had Medicare covering prescription drugs, not having it done privately, that should go to Gore's benefit. If Bush should win, Bush is going to win on what is really a Democratic issue. In other words, I think that Bush was able to fuzzy up the issues to the point that people didn't differentiate between where Gore stood and where Bush stood.
BAKER: Larry, I think that this was an issue-dominated campaign. And I think that's good. I think it probably promoted a vast turnout, which I think, almost certainly, we are going to see. But there is something else there that we don't know yet, and probably won't know, until we have examined the results in a few days. And whether fierce competition between Bush and Gore or the issues or something else, I don't know. I am even bold enough to think that the country has decided that elections are important and that they ought to turn out and vote.
L. KING: Good thinking.
BAKER: And if they have, you know, that's a major victory for the country.
WOODWARD: And also it's quite possible that prosperity mattered. I mean, most people in this country are better off, and that simple fact, which people have told us for a long time can drive an election, may have done it once again.
L. KING: All three of our guests will be back at midnight, we'll come a little after midnight, and be with you for the full hour with this outstanding panel.
Certainly no mandate here, right?
RICHARDS: No, not going to happen.
L. KING: We thank Ann Richards, Howard Baker and Bob Woodward. In the next hour, we'll talk with the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. Right now, back to the national desk in Atlanta on this extraordinary election night -- guys.
SHAW: A very good guest to have on at the top of the hour because more polls will be closing including New York. CNN's live coverage of this Election 2000 will continue in just a moment.
WOODRUFF: We're 13 minutes away from another set of states having their polls closed, having the doors close, if you will, on the places where voters go to cast their ballots. Let's take a look at the electoral map at this moment. With George W. Bush has 130 electoral votes. His states are in red. Al Gore, 122 electoral votes. Those states in yellow are the states where we are not yet, at this moment, able to declare a winner.
Let's take a look at what those states are. They are New Hampshire, with four electoral votes, the state of Ohio with 21, West Virginia, five, Pennsylvania, significant battleground state, 23, Missouri, 11, Tennessee, another 11, the home state of Al Gore, and Arkansas, six.
And we are able to call Pennsylvania for Vice President Al Gore. Twenty-three electoral votes go to the vice president. Jeff Greenfield, Bernie Shaw, this is a major disappointment for George W. Bush. And Jeff, makes it all the harder for him to put together a winning combination.
GREENFIELD: It absolutely does. It means that of the states that are now undecided, we can begin to say that George Bush has to more or less run the table on them. He has got to win Ohio. He has got to win Tennessee and Arkansas. He has got to win Missouri. The polls close at 9:00. New York was never in play. The West Coast, which hasn't been favorable to the Republicans for a while. So, with the loss of Pennsylvania and Michigan and Illinois and Florida, all battleground states, the states that we have left in yellow are the places where George W. Bush's candidacy must prevail if he's to survive across the Mississippi River. It's going to be tough.
SHAW: Very tough Jeff, and for the first time tonight, Al Gore has gone up on Governor Bush. The vice president, 145 electoral votes, the governor from Texas, 130 electoral votes, and, as you say, poll closings coming up at the top of the hour. And we'll see what happens.
WOODRUFF: Al Gore having exactly half the number needed at this hour. We were able to call Pennsylvania at about 8:48 Eastern time. He now has about -- exactly half the number needed. But as Jeff just said, we've got polls closing in the coming hour, Wisconsin, Oregon, later on tonight.
GREENFIELD: New York, among others, but right now we're going to go to Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas, simultaneously to Candy Crowley and John King.
Candy, the Bush people keep giving these scenarios of how they can win without Florida and how they can win without Michigan. Now, at some point the scenario begins to get a little dicey, doesn't it?
CROWLEY: At some point you run out of electoral votes that are there to be had, particularly when you realize that California has always seemed like very safe Gore territory, despite a Bush effort there. So, yes, Pennsylvania just another big one and we're running out of battlegrounds and running out of states with major electoral votes. Now, as you know, Bush has made a play for a lot of the 11 electoral votes, 10 electoral votes, all of those states, Tennessee and Arkansas, but it now becomes, as you say, it comes to a point where George Bush is going to have to run the table if he's going stay in this game.
GREENFIELD: You told us earlier that Jesse Jackson was being dispatched into Philadelphia, that this turnout effort by the Gore operatives was going on into the night. Is it their sense now, or can you tell us that they now begin to see, to use a phrase from another generation, the light at the end of the tunnel -- John?
L. KING: Jeff, a lot of people think that it's, you know, just cliche or conversation to fill out a campaign. When we talk about how important the group war is, just look at state of Pennsylvania and look at some key elections in recent years, the election of the Philadelphia mayor, John Street, elections in the Pittsburgh area, the mayor and the city council. In those cases, African-Americans in Philadelphia made the difference, labor unions in the western part of the state made the difference.
The Democrats have poured $30 to $40 million of their own money into this, plus money from the labor unions. They believe tonight it is making the difference. They also believe the non-stop campaigning by Al Gore helped out in the last few days, particularly in the state of Florida. Based on their projections now -- they assume the state of New York will go their way in the next hour, they think they're going to win by a significant margin in California, they're counting on Washington state. That's a batt;eground worth looking at, they think they're just about 18 electoral votes short of winning the White House if this keeps going.
Again, the vice president still on the phone. Just a few moment ago, I was told, making a phone call into Missouri. The polls still open there, making drive-time radio calls into Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. They are much more optimistic here, cheers among the staff at the Gore hotel, cheers in public here in Nashville, as we've just called the big state of Pennsylvania for the vice president.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King in Nashville, Candy Crowley in Austin.
Back here at the studio in Atlanta, let's go quickly to Hal Bruno over at our big electoral map.
Hal, what happened in Pennsylvania to pull it together for Gore?
BRUNO: There was a big surprise, Judy. It was over here. He not only won the city of Philadelphia but he did very well in the suburbs and he held his own over here in the west, which is in the swing section of the state. That's the way he did it.
WOODRUFF: And he was in -- let's look at that tally of how many times these candidates were in the state of Pennsylvania.
I have George Bush in there t least 12 times since the conventions, Al Gore in there 13 times. That tells you as clearly as anything, this is a state both these gentlemen felt they had to -- needed to have in order to pull this together.
GREENFIELD: So far, every battle -- every key big battleground state Gore has taken tonight, so far: Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan.
SHAW: Ohio is still out.
SCHNEIDER: Well, let's take a look at how Al Gore won Pennsylvania. Well, this was absolutely crucial. Let's look at people who decided how to vote in the last three days. They voted 53 to 36 for Gore over Bush. Now only about one in 10 voters decided how to vote in the last three days, but they gave Gore his margin. It was at the end of this campaign, in the last few days, that Gore won Pennsylvania. Among the 90 percent who decided earlier, Bush had a slight edge. So it was just decided in Pennsylvania only in the last couple of days.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, our coverage will continue in a moment with more poll closings at the top of the hour -- quite a handful of states.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Four minutes to more polls close, let's go straight to "THE CAPITAL GANG" and Al Hunt.
HUNT: Thanks, Judy.
I'm here with Kate O'Beirne and with Robert Novak.
All right, Bob. For weeks we've been talking about Gore has to pull off the political trifecta of Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania. He did it. Where does that leave us?
NOVAK: I think it leaves him just a step from being the next president of the United States. He could do it, I think, by winning his home state of Tennessee, which everybody had thought that Governor Bush was going to win. My information is that the returns are not that good for Governor Bush. But then if Bush does, is -- he's able to get Tennessee, then we move out west to some important states out there: Arizona, Oregon, and before that Iowa.
And those are states that Bush would have to win. He has very little margin of error, and not much confidence, I think, in the Bush ranks right now, considering the disappointments they've had so far tonight.
HUNT: We're in hand-to-hand combat, right, Kate?
O'BEIRNE: Absolutely. With Gore winning those big-three battleground states, it's up to Bush now to win all the skirmish states. He's got to win states Bill Clinton carried twice. He's got to win Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa, New Mexico. He's got to win a couple that have already closed but are too close to call. New Hampshire -- as I said, he's got to hope they're kind to him this time around -- Ohio, West Virginia.
He needs to be greedy about all the smaller states that are still out there because this gives Al Gore such a boost.
HUNT: You know, one thing I'm struck by, this is primarily look at the exit polls. In 1980, we talked about Reagan Democrats. After that, in 1992, we talked about some Clinton Republicans. He got some Republican votes. I'll tell you, George Bush is not getting any Democrats, and Al Gore is not getting any Republicans. There will be no mention of Gore Republicans or Bush Democrats, which may create a mandate problem for governance, whichever one of these guys wins, Bob.
NOVAK: But the real story is that the ground war has apparently been won by the Democrats.
NOVAK: The unions came out, the blacks came out. And that's why some of the Republicans I've talked to are a little bit on the pessimistic side, because they've been losing the ground war in state after state.
The only other point is that the ground war is most effective with union members and, may I say, African-Americans. And in these other states, they're perhaps a little less important. I think Tennessee becomes really, hugely important. Who would have thought that the battle for Tennessee by Al Gore would be that important?
HUNT: Tennessee or Missouri, which is going to, you know, may stay open late, too.
NOVAK: Oh, yes.
O'BEIRNE: Missouri's fairtly important, too.
HUNT: Michael Hooley put together for the Gore people a great get-out-the-vote operation.
O'BEIRNE: Well the Democrats had a terrific get-out-the-vote operation in '98, and it caused the Republicans some seats. But they promised themselves they'd match it this time. But it seems as though in the big states they have it.
NOVAK: Because of the federal judge in St. Louis, we won't know for another three hours one way or the other.
HUNT: Well, we may not know until tomorrow, because there are absentee ballots coming in some states, and there are also going to be some states that we'll have no idea. For instance, I think CNN has given three votes in Maine to Al Gore, but there's a fourth, which is one CD, out there that could be critical in the final analysis. Wouldn't that be a field day for us, Bob Novak?
NOVAK: We can only hope.
HUNT: That's right.
Kate, a final word?
O'BEIRNE: I'm going to stay right here, Al. I'm not going to miss a thing.
HUNT: We will be back later, though. We now go back to our election headquarters in Atlanta, where it's 9:00 in the East, and the polls are about to close in New York, Wisconsin and New Mexico.
ANNOUNCER: From CNN Center in Atlanta, coverage of election 2000 continues.
Here again, Judy Woodruff, Bernard Shaw, Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.
SHAW: And indeed those polls have closed, and the first lady of the United States of America will become a senator from New York state, Hillary Rodham Clinton tonight defeating Congressman Rick Lazio.
GREENFIELD: I think it is safe to say, folks, that we have written a new page in American political history. Not only the first first lady ever to hold public office, someone who moved to New York, a state she had never lived in, someone who in February of 1999 or January, watched her husband being acquitted on impeachment charges and on that very day huddled with Harold Ickes, one of the Clinton's top aides, and started talking about her future which included, amazingly, to some people, a United States Senate seat in New York.
One other thing, she got two huge breaks that Rudy Giuliani had to, because of health and personal reasons, not run and she got a huge break when George Bush became the Republican nominee, taking New York virtually out of the presidential battleground and dumping no Republican help in there. But to her credit, she went upstate, Republican territory, worked for a year and a half, and she is now the United States Senator-elect from New York. And who'd of thunk it a year and a half ago.
WOODRUFF: Who'd have thunk it.
SHAW: Staying here in the Empire State, CNN declares the winner Vice President Gore, picking up New York's 33 electoral votes. Continuing with our poll closings now, Wisconsin we're not prepared to call this yet. Wisconsin's 11 electoral votes very, very important this night. In Minnesota, also the same case here. We are not prepared to call Minnesota. When we can, of course, we will.
Louisiana, Governor Bush winning tonight there, nine electoral votes going into his column. In Arizona, again, not we're prepared to call this one nor are we prepared to call it in Colorado. Colorado with eight electoral votes hanging out there. Governor Bush, CNN declares the winner in Nebraska, five more electoral votes for the Texas governor. We're not going to call New Mexico yet. We'll come back to New Mexico.
Rhode Island, put in the Gore column. The vice president winning four more electoral vote. In North Dakota, Governor Bush wins those three electoral votes as he does in South Dakota, three more electoral votes. As he does in Wyoming, still three more electoral votes. Now this is the map as we look at it at this hour. The vice president, 192 electoral vote; Governor Bush 153.
WOODRUFF: Bernie, it looks like 11 states we are not able to call yet. But as you point out the total Al Gore inching ever closer to 270. but George Bush still within striking distance. But the big story tonight in addition to watching how these states tally up is how many of them are being fought out, you know, whatever term you want to use, whether it's a cliche hand-to-hand combat or whatever, they're still fighting it out on the ground.
GREENFIELD: It also looks, when you look at the electoral map and you look at that looming West Coast that's been so kind to the Democrats for the last eight years, that George W. Bush is going to have to win almost everything that is still in play to have a chance because of what may be looming in California. I also think we should probably pause and talk one more second about that Hillary Clinton Senate race, because it is not just another Senate race.
I have a very quick story. When Eleanor Roosevelt was a widow, Harold Ickes, Sr. went to her in 1945 and urged her to run for the United States Senate from New York, said it will be a great tribute to your husband. Eleanor said I can't do it. He's only dead a month. I'm not ready to even think about it. So 54 years later, Harold Ickes son sits with Hillary Rodham Clinton and says, if you come to New York and run for the Senate, we think you can make it. And she has.
SHAW: And a prime factor has to be her husband, President Clinton, who not only whispered strategy in her ear but campaigned tirelessly with her.
SCHNEIDER: I think with this victory Hillary Rodham Clinton instantly becomes a national figure, She is a national figure already. But I think she becomes a national Democrat with a very wide national following. Now if Al Gore wins the election, in a sense you'll have two leading national Democrats, each of whom can claim the Clinton legacy: Al Gore, his selected vice president, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, his wife. If there's ever a difference of opinion between, if he's president, Al Gore, and Senator Clinton, won't that be interesting.
SHAW: Frank Buckley is in New York at Clinton headquarters. What's it like, Frank?
BUCKLEY: Well, the mood jubilant here. The crowd erupting in cheers as the TV reports of Hillary Clinton being declared the winner came out on the big screen TVs. The people here in the audience cheering, and to pick up on a thread that you were just talking about, yes, Mrs. Clinton did embrace the president in campaigning later on in the campaign.
Early she did not campaign with him very much. The thinking was he wanted her to be able to establish herself as a candidate. And once she was able to do that, and once it was clear that the people of New York knew that she was running on her own, then they felt very comfortable in bringing the president in.
The president's popularity never waning here in New York. So they felt that he was a strong card to bring to the table. And he in fact helped in the final days, especially in bringing out the Democratic base here in New York.
SHAW: Deborah Feyerick is over at Rick Lazio's campaign.
FEYERICK: Well, this is what you're seeing. You're seeing a live picture of the room right now. There was stunned silence when this race was called for Hillary Clinton. No reaction any members of the crowd who had been cheering wildly every time a state was announced for Governor Bush. No reaction whatsoever. Several people looking visibly upset. One woman left the room. Now Lazio, we spoke to a spokesperson from his campaign not more than 10 minutes ago, and they were adamant. They said that this thing is not over yet. They were really hoping to get a big boost from voters between 5:00 and 7:00, a time that they had sort of deemed Republican voting time.
Rick Lazio was at Grand Central Station campaigning. It does not appear to have been enough. Right now, no comment, no reaction as to whether they're going to concede or when they will concede. Rick Lazio has always considered himself the underdog in this race. He was the underdog when he first won the election back in 1992 to the House and he was really hoping to repeat that with another come from behind victory -- Judy, Bernie.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, what was persuasive among the voters?
SCHNEIDER: Well, let's look at the voters of New York. To whom does Hillary Rodham Clinton owe a debt of gratitude. The answer is whom? Women. Women voted 58 percent for Hillary Rodham Clinton, almost 60 percent. Phenomenal. Men didn't vote for her. Men voted very narrowly for Rick Lazio. And let me point out that Gore won New York by carrying both men and women. But in Hillary's case, it was women who put her over.
What about the carpetbagger issue? We asked voters in New York, has she lived long enough in New York to represent New York to represent New York effectively. And on the carpetbagger issue, New York voters were split. Fifty percent said they were not concerned that she hasn't lived there long enough. Almost 50 percent said yes, it was an issue of concern. So the carpetbagger issue did not go overwhelmingly against Hillary Rodham Clinton in her effort to become Senator from New York. Of course, we know the only other time when someone won a Senate race who had never lived or worked in a state was Robert Kennedy in 1964, also in New York.
GREENFIELD: This has been a real roller-coaster of a race -- of a campaign for this woman, you have to say. I mean, she started out she though she was running against Rudy Giuliani and, of course, we know because of health problems he ended up dropping out. But, I mean, it's been up; it's been down; it's been all over the place, and she's taken a lot.
GREENFIELD: The remarkable thing about this race was that even more than most presidential races the passions that this race engendered in my home state were astonishing. You heard opinions about Hillary Clinton that were on the one hand, you know, this is a role model. And on the other hand were scaverous (ph).
And at first, a lot of the traditional Democratic liberals, including women, were very hostile to her. They said she's coming up here because couldn't deal with her husband. I mean, it was pretty rough and I do think in part, part of it was that the Democrats came home on issues. But the other thing was she worked her head off.
WOODRUFF: Her head off, but how many people were neutral about Hillary Clinton.
GREENFIELD: Nobody, nobody.
WOODRUFF: Everyone went into this with a strong feeling one way or another, and what you're saying is that strong feelings against were shifted to some extent.
GREENFIELD: I think, just quickly, I think even the people who undecided were undecided emotionally. They really had problems with her personally. They had problems with the relationship and they were really, had problems if they were Democrats, with giving another Republican vote to Trent Lott. Those issues things, I think, helped.
SCHNEIDER: I think it's fair to say that the race was about Hillary. It was not about Rick Lazio, about whom most New Yorkers did not have strong opinions. If men didn't vote for Hillary it's because they had strong opinions about her, not because they were voting for a man.
WOODRUFF: All right, Hillary Clinton will be going to United States Senate and our man whop's keeping an eye on the Senate and the House and the governors tonight is Wolf Blitzer. Let's go straight to you -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, Judy, let's take a look at what's happening in the U.S. Senate. First of all, with this pick-up in Minnesota, Mark Dayton defeating the incumbent Rod Grams, right now, the Republican hold-overs 35, Democratic hold-overs, 31. As of right now, there have been 12 Republicans who have been elected, 13 Democrats. That suggests that there are still only a few races left to go before the final outcome is determined.
Let's go to some of those races, that we can now call. Nine undecided Senate races, by the way, we're still waiting for. In Wisconsin, Herb Kohl, the incumbent, has defeated John Gillespie, the Republican. In Arizona, Jon Kyle he had no Democratic opponent, easily winning in the Arizona re-election.
In New Mexico, Jeff Bingaman, the incumbent Democrat, re-elected defeating Bill Redmond. In Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee the Republican incumbent appointed, has been re-elected, defeating Bob Weygand, in North Dakota, Kent Conrad, the Democratic incumbent, he has been re-elected. In Wyoming, Senator Craig Thomas, he has been re-elected.
Stuart Rothenberg, so far in all of these Senate races, including Mrs. Clinton's New York state, they seem going as the polls, the final poll numbers have suggested.
ROTHENBERG: I think you're right, Wolf. I think so far things have been predictable. The biggest problem for the Democrats is the defeat of Chuck Robb. If they held on to that state they would have had some leeway in picking up these other Republican seats that are yet to come: Michigan and Missouri and the like. They're going to need wins in most of those states.
The one race I think that's notable that you just mentioned was Rhode Island, a state that went for Al Gore for president, was held by Lincoln Chafee. He was appointed to the seat after his father passed away. It's a Democratic state, but he held it as a Republican.
BLITZER: Even incumbency for a short term has its advantages. Let's take a look at some of the gubernatorial races. Governor Jeanne Shaheen has won her bid to be re-elected in New Hampshire. That was too close to call earlier in the evening. And in North Dakota, John Hoeven, the Republican, defeating Heidi Heitkamp. A lot of people had watched that race in -- in North Dakota.
ROTHENBERG: That was regarded as a tossup. A Republican governor decided not to seek re-election. She has had medical problems. Some questioned would it evoke some sympathy. But Hoeven, the Republican, in a Republican state, eked out a win.
BLITZER: Two ballot initiatives also we're now ready to say in Colorado, both of these statewide ballot initiatives, Colorado passed the gun control initiative. That does now require background checks at gun shows. Also, Colorado passed a medical marijuana initiative that allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes in the state of Colorado.
ROTHENBERG: Well, Wolf, these ballot measures give the voters a clean shot at issues. Unlike candidate races, where there are lots of issues involved and there's personalities as well, these are very focused on issues.
BLITZER: And Stuart, we're also monitoring all of 400 -- the 435 races in the House of Representatives, all up for grabs right now. About 25 percent of those races have been determined, and what we're seeing is so far no pickups for the Democrats or the Republicans.
ROTHENBERG: Wolf, very few House races were in play this year. There haven't been any turnovers yet. It won't take very many to get the Democrats to creep up toward a majority.
There is a barn-burner going on in Florida's eight congressional district, Orlando-based, a Republican open seat, where at the moment the Republican, Rick Tower (ph), has a very, very, thousand-vote, very narrow, a thousand-vote advantage with over 90 percent of the votes cast. That's a race we're looking at right now.
BLITZER: And that's a seat that Bill McCollum gave up. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as a Republican, former House impeachment manager.
Stuart Rothenberg, thank you. Back to the national desk.
SHAW: OK. Thanks very much, Wolf. An observation about Mrs. Clinton's win in New York state, it seems to me she's paraphrasing a famous line from Vice President Gore's convention acceptance speech in Los Angeles -- "I am my own woman" -- against the backdrop of her problems with her husband.
WOODRUFF: Well, when you think that it was the day her husband had such huge troubles of his own that she announced that she was striking out on her own, I think that leads you to draw that conclusion.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, a lot of people admired her. Some criticized her, of course, for sticking with her husband and standing by him in all of his ordeal. I think most of the people who voted for her were Clinton supporters, but some might have said, you know, she's -- we're going to vote for her as a statement. WOODRUFF: I've just been told there's already a wire story moving -- and I'm sorry I can't credit the wire service -- that there's word that Hillary Clinton will likely serve on the Senate Health, Labor and Education Committee. That's a Senate committee that Senator Edward Kennedy has long been associated with. I think he's the ranking Democrat there.
GREENFIELD: I mean, it's a -- it's a nice irony. She is her own person now. I think it's fair to say that she got where she got (a) because she was first lady of the United States; second, a figure who was often seen in harsh terms, especially after the health-care debacle; who was seen as a figure of sympathy because of what her husband put her through; and also, succeeded in New York in part because Bill Clinton, that is the state where he is probably as popular, and even personally, despite everything, as any state in the country.
So it's an interesting transition. She is her own person, who got where she is because she was married to her husband, and then used that to go beyond that. Fascinating story.
SHAW: Very fascinating. Wherever you're watching in the United States, wherever you're watching around the world, don't go away. When we come back, we have much, much more to report on this he election night 2000.
SHAW: Here now a CNN major battleground call. Governor Bush is the winner in Ohio, and he grabs the Buckeye state's 21 electoral votes.
GREENFIELD: This is a state that he absolutely had to have given what happened in Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. It is also a state Republicans have to have because they just don't win the White House without it, especially with the loss in Illinois.
And it now suggests that there is at least a little more optimism, not optimism, but at least hope on the Bush camp. That's right, hope, because if you look at all the other states before we get west, if Bush can win Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, if, the electoral map begins to stabilize.
SHAW: CNN is making another call. Governor Bush moving very quickly in Tennessee, embarrassing Vice President Gore by snatching his state's 11 electoral votes.
SCHNEIDER: We wish to make a correction about something that was said earlier. I believe that Woodrow Wilson got elected president without carrying his home state of New Jersey.
GREENFIELD: Second time, in 1916.
SCHNEIDER: The second time, in 1916. GREENFIELD: So any of you taking notes, please jot that down on your chart. But this...
WOODRUFF: And there was James Polk, who won the presidency without Tennessee.
GREENFIELD: Yes, but having won Tennessee, having won the vice president's home state, this scenario for Bush now begins to look at least conceivable. You can see the Bush people saying, OK, if we take Arkansas, if we take Missouri, if we take Wisconsin, if we take Minnesota and Iowa -- this is what it's come down to -- then we get to the West with enough electoral votes that we can withstand a loss in California.
I'll tell you, friends, it becomes more and more interesting as every state is called.
SHAW: Look at that, it's -- Gore now has 192, Bush 185, according to my quick calculation.
SCHNEIDER: I'd call Ohio the "keep hope alive" state for the George Bush campaign, and what we found in the exit poll was that one of the reasons why he won it was gun owners, a lot of gun owners: 40 percent of the voters in Ohio were gun owners and they went almost 60 percent for George W. Bush.
WOODRUFF: We should say, too, that about Ohio that it's been about a week and half that Al Gore pulled his ads from that state, because the polls -- the polling information they were doing inside their campaign told them they really didn't have much of a shot. They pulled out a good bit of money.
GREENFIELD: And if we go back to our keys and we talk about social issues, the gun ownership issue was one that the Gore campaign thought was going to drive women away from Bush. At least in Ohio, we can at least make the speculation that working-class Democrats, gun owners, had a problem with Al Gore's gun control stand. We'll find out a little later.
WOODRUFF: But Bill Clinton won that state twice. He -- Ohio was in the Clinton camp both in 1992, narrowly, and in 1996 narrowly.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. Now, it's back to the Republican camp, where it has been most often.
GREENFIELD: Because Bill Clinton didn't suffer on those social issues the way Al Gore would. What -- I think what we're trying to say again and again is that the more states that are called, the more this race takes on the fascinating perspective that we thought it would be before the polls ever opened.
We don't know who the next president of the United States is going to be. We may not know for an hour and a half, 2 1/2 hours, who can say. SCHNEIDER: And in Pennsylvania, a number of these states, it was the late-breaking voters who appeared to have made the difference. They clearly delivered Pennsylvania for Al Gore, which was going for Bush early on. It -- they shifted in the last few days.
WOODRUFF: Bill, I want to, just for clarification, if we have a minute to do this, it's -- what? 9:20 on the East Coast. The polls closed in Ohio almost two hours ago.
Help us understand the process. I mean, in some of these states we -- just so our viewers can understand, we've been able to call the state literally the moment the polls closed. Not the case in Ohio. What had to have happen in the interim for us to be able to call it.
SCHNEIDER: I think what we had to do is look at some key precincts in Ohio to find out what was actually going on in the real vote, because our exit poll wasn't definitive enough to allow us to call Ohio. There was too much margin of error. So we had to look at the real votes as they started to be counted.
And we have precincts selected around the state of Ohio. People call in and tell us the vote totals in those precincts, and those are real votes, and they help us look at the exit polling and see if the exit poll is giving us a strong clue. And also, if there are a number of absentee ballots out, they usually count those very quickly. We look and see how the absentee ballot count is going.
SHAW: If you're just joining us you have missed a lot but there is still a lot more to come. This is how the electoral map looks right now at 20 minutes after 9:00 Eastern time. Texas Governor George Bush is leading slimly, 185 electoral votes to Vice President Gore's 182. As I say, lots of excitement so far, but still lots more to come, given the closeness of those numbers.
WOODRUFF: It is remarkable, Bernie. I mean, any which way you cut it, there is a lot to look out for. There are all the states in yellow. I think it's what, nine states now, if you count at least a portion of the state of Maine, which we have given three of its four electoral votes to Al Gore. We don't know, we can't say who the other one will go to. One has to assume it has got to go to either Gore or Bush, but we don't know.
GREENFIELD: One piece of preliminary conceivable mischief to put on the table.
SHAW: How about two pieces?
GREENFIELD: All right, well, the first one is if these states break a certain way, we could wind up with a 269-269 tie with no one getting a majority of electoral votes. It is not out of the question yet. And then, we will be here until January, folks.
WOODRUFF: Right in these very chairs in this very studio. Do you think they will feed us?
SCHNEIDER: Then it will go to the House of Representatives and it will go to the new House of Representatives and we don't know how that is going yet.
SHAW: When we come back -- when we come back, John King, Candy Crowley in Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee. We will check in to see what they are saying and what they are thinking when we come back.
SHAW: Welcome viewers watching CNN's election night coverage around the world on CNN International. You are witnessing a cliffhanger as Al Gore and George Bush battle to become 43rd president of the United States. Look at the closeness of this race at 25 minutes past 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. The Texas governor with 185 electoral votes, nipping at his heels, the vice president of United States, Al Gore, with 182. And Judy Woodruff standing by to report on the polls that close in about 35 minutes.
GREENFIELD: We should do some -- I wouldn't call it speculation, but just look ahead. Look at this map, and see what it tells us. Well, the map has disappeared, so I'll tell you. We look at this map and we see that through the Midwest, you've got these states that are yet to be called, the Midwest and the South. You have got Iowa, which hasn't closed yet. You've got Missouri, too close to call. Minnesota and Wisconsin, we can't call yet. And West Virginia with five electoral votes.
Now, look West. By every poll number, even though the Bush people made a play for it, the Gore campaign has to be looking at the state of California with its 54 electoral votes as though they were looking at a prime sirloin about to be served to them.
WOODRUFF: And we should point out they spent all of $100 in the state of California, while the Bush people spent something like $12 million, and the Republican community.
GREENFIELD: But if you are look at those states that have yet to be decided in the middle of country and just for the sake of argument, Bush takes them, and then you move West and Bush takes those states, Mountain West, and Gore takes California, the speculation that we have been doing all week, becomes true. States like Washington and Oregon and maybe Nevada and maybe New Mexico, which we can't yet call, may be the states that hold the balance of power.
This is not the kind of case where in elections past we have sat here, really knowing that there was no way for the inevitable forestalled. We don't know how these states are going to break, and we may be looking, still, at an incredibly close contest.
WOODRUFF: And it's crazy to try to make a prediction because we have seen that many of the states that predictively were counted in one corner, were not going, were not going to be going that way this year until the very end, when all votes were counted.
SHAW: Still, the only states outstanding, aside from the races that we are not prepared to call yet, Judy you have got two, four, five states at 10:00, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah. Then, I have California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington. And at midnight, those four I just quoted are from 11:00 p.m., at midnight there's just one outstanding state, Alaska.
WOODRUFF: And just three electoral votes.
GREENFIELD: It does seem, though, that the fears of the Bush campaign in one sense have been realized, or least their plan B. If they were going to lose Florida and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Illinois, all of which they have lost, they -- their argument was, OK, we can swoop up electoral votes in all those second tier states like Missouri and Wisconsin and Minnesota. No offense to those states, they just have fewer electoral votes. That's what they are going to have to do to make this race close before you get out to the West Coast.
WOODRUFF: A lot of things have to come together. One thing that has come together tonight, it's something for the first lady. We called it about 27 minutes ago, and that is that she has won a Senate seat from the state of New York. And for a little reaction from somebody who has been covering the White House, let's go to John King.
You are in Nashville, John, but we understand you are privy to the thinking of none other than President Clinton.
KING: That is right, Judy, and since you last visited Nashville, we should tell you they started the music here in what Al Gore hopes will be a victory party. While I was checking on the president, actually, to see what he was doing on behalf of the vice president, and it was during a telephone conversation with Las Vegas radio station KCET to make a pitch to voters in Nevada to vote for Vice President Gore, that we called that Senate race for the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The president saw that and he told the radio station, quote, I'm the first president in history with a wife in the Senate and I like it. We are also told at this hour, the president helping the first lady work on her speech. He interrupted his radio calls on behalf of the vice president to help the first lady prepare her acceptance speech, her big historic moment tonight in New York.
Back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King.
Also, joining us, I think, from Austin, Texas, Candy Crowley.
Candy, you are there.
Thoughts from some of the folks around Governor Bush at this hour. I know you have been listening to what -- some of what Jeff Greenfield is saying about how even though it is harder for Governor Bush to put a 270 together, it is still very possible.
CROWLEY: Absolutely, and it's still very possible to them. Obviously, they're heartened by Ohio but they always had Ohio in their column. They really needed that one. But it is a major boost. It was certainly a major boost to this crowd, which when they heard it, I think you can hear them now -- CNN is on a big screen, so they know when they are on TV -- when Ohio was called for Bush, it was a big energizer for this crowd. It is bound to be in the Bush campaign as well.
Look, I should also tell you that the Bush campaign, despite the fact that we have called both Florida and Pennsylvania for Vice President Gore, they don't believe it is over yet in those two states, just to put that in there. So, they are still fighting. They also were on the phone, knowing that the West Coast becomes more and more important.
But I will tell you, looking at this map, and, putting these electoral votes together, one of the things that the bush strategists always believed was that it might come down to places like Tennessee, like Arkansas, like Wisconsin. And in fact, in the last day of this campaign, George Bush was in Wisconsin, Iowa, Arkansas and Tennessee, all of which now bode very heavily in terms of how this campaign is going to come out.
GREENFIELD: Candy, could I just ask you, if they're looking west, the Bush campaign, and they must be at least dealing with the possibility that California, Washington and Oregon may all go to Gore, then they've got to be -- they're just about out of states, aren't they? They have to win almost everything left out that hasn't yet been decided for them to get to 270.
CROWLEY: Yes, except for I can tell you that they are not about to concede Oregon or Washington. Bush made a major play for both of those states. He was in California until the very end, and while that seemed like California dreaming, they do not believe that Oregon and Washington were pipe dreams. They believe they have real chances there, and as you know Ralph Nader's a factor. So that gives them a boost as well.
WOODRUFF: Candy, you say -- you're suggesting that maybe there were some dreaming going on in California, but it was expensive dreaming. Didn't the Republican Party spend $12 million added to another million or so on the part of the Bush campaign for California? They must have thought they had a real shot -- or have a real shot. I don't want to talk in the past tense here.
CROWLEY: I have to tell you that every time we talked to them about California, because it;s been trending so Democratic over the past couple of elections, they would say, look, no we believe we have a real shot here. Now part of that was based on turnout. They had a very aggressive turnout effort in California.
But there were also those candidates down ballot. And in California, Republicans have felt abandoned by presidential candidates in the past, and George Bush felt a real obligation to be in California until the very end for the California Republican Party. So he was there. He made a major effort there, both in monetary terms and in time terms. They always said, look, we've got a chance in California, but a lot of it had to do with the California Republican Party and all of those Republicans down ballot.
SHAW: Candy Crowley, John King, thank you.
We'll be back with more of our continuing coverage this election night 2000 from CNN headquarters in Atlanta and our correspondents in the field.
WOODRUFF: Twenty-five minutes away from another set of poll closings. Let's take a look at that great big electorate map at this hour, look at the states that have been called, those that have not been celled yet. And you can see that we are at about 180-some electoral votes, I think it's 185, for George W. Bush, 182 for Al Gore. And at least by my last count.
And let's talk to Hal Bruno now, while we're thinking about maps, about some of those states that are still outstanding that we're not able to call yet -- Hal.
BRUNO: Judy, let's talk about three midwestern battlegrounds that are absolutely crucial: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri.
First of all, Wisconsin, Madison, that's where Ralph Nader is doing a lot of harm to Al Gore. He's running with about 6 or 7 percent of the vote there. And that should be a Democratic stronghold. Gore's doing very well in Milwaukee, and George Bush is doing good in the rest of the state, like he's supposed to. But what's hurting Gore is Ralph Nader in the Madison area.
Going on to Missouri, going on to Missouri if I can get the machine to work right -- all right, we'll go to Minnesota. In Minnesota, Al Gore is doing very well in Minneapolis, and then he's doing surprisingly well in the Minneapolis suburbs. It was sort of a repeat of what happened over in Philadelphia. However, up here in the iron range country, which should be -- well, Bernie, take it away. Something's happening here.
SHAW: Well, we'll come right back to you. CNN declares that Vice President Al Gore wins Minnesota, wins Minnesota's 10 electoral votes. And you were just making a point about his voting strength in various parts of the state and surprisingly having done well outside in the suburbs.
BRUNO: Doing well in the Minneapolis suburbs. And Ralph Nader was not as much a factor there as he was down in Wisconsin.
Now let's talk about Missouri. Missouri is a crucial state.
OK, we don't have time for Missouri. We'll do it later.
SHAW: Well, we always have time for the Show-Me state, but we just want to talk about some of the things behind that victory in Minnesota. But here now is the very latest count.
Vice President Gore still slightly ahead of Governor Bush in the electoral vote total, 192 to 185, CNN just declaring Mr. Gore the winner in Minnesota.
GREENFIELD: And if you look at this map once again and cast your eyes out west, where what we -- you know, what we -- everybody has expected for most of this campaign to happen in California, you begin to see that the states begin to close around the hopes of George W. Bush. There are simply fewer and fewer places where he can pick up enough votes to get to 270, unless an amazing upset happens out west.
WOODRUFF: Well, and -- but we should keep in mind, as Candy Crowley just told us from Austin, where she's talking to the Bush people, she said they have not entirely accepted the notion, as we and some other news organizations have called it, that Florida and Pennsylvania will end up in Al Gore's camp. She said they are still looking at absentee ballots. They are not ready to concede those two states yet.
SHAW: And while it's clear he's running out of real estate, why do I have the feeling there are going to be some races contested?
GREENFIELD: Well, I think it's possible in a really, really close race, what we haven't reported was the margins in these states. You have a very good point, Bernie. In some of these states it comes down to a couple of thousands of votes each, that's exactly what we can expect to happen. But I think here, Bill, we've been talking about how issues like the environment and guns may have hurt Al Gore in some places. But surely in the suburbs around Minneapolis, those are the kinds of issues that play pretty well.
WOODRUFF: Well, the man...
SHAW: Yes, that was the point Hal Bruno was just making.
WOODRUFF: The man who's been talking about all that is Hal Bruno.
Hal, let's go back to you for the rest of your explanation about Minnesota.
BRUNO: Yes, this all happened so fast.
Al Gore did very well within the twin cities, but what was surprising, as we said, is in the Minneapolis and St. Paul suburbs he did much better than expected, and he did well up here in the iron range country.
George Bush did fine in the rest of the state, but it was up there in the iron range and in those Minneapolis suburbs and the twin cities itself where Al Gore won it. And Nader was not the factor in Minnesota that he'd been in other places.
WOODRUFF: We -- I think it's important -- I think it's important at this time to recap that we still have, as we looked back at that big electoral map a minute ago, about eight or nine states that we are not able to give to either Al Gore or George W. Bush right now. SCHNEIDER: That's right, and Bush's, I think, last hopes remain in West and he's got to pull a real hat trick to pull some of those western states. Now let's take a look at how it was that Al Gore carried Minnesota. Well, you know 1/3 of the voters in Minnesota voted for Jesse Ventura. He won on a bare plurality.
Let's take a look at how the Jesse Ventura voters went in the state of Minnesota today. And according to our exit poll, they went for Al Gore -- well, I can tell you they went for Al Gore by a bare majority: 51 percent for Gore; 38 percent for Bush; 9 percent for Nader, the third party candidate. So it's pretty clear to me that, you know, Minnesota, a divided state, the Ventura vote was crucial for Al Gore even thought who he did not endorse Al Gore.
GREENFIELD: Which also tells us something about George W. Bush's attempt, or lack of them, to pick-up the reformer mantle of one John McCain. You'll remember that after McCain beat him badly in New Hampshire, suddenly George Bush described himself as a reformer with results. He never really stressed that point except in terms of Social Security and education reform but on issues like campaign finance reform he was pretty quiet and that may be one explanation of why the Ventura vote did not...
SCHNEIDER: Ventura did not endorse Bush or Gore. He said he might vote for Jerry Hagelin or a third minor party candidate, but that vote seems to have gone very heavily for Al Gore and was...
WOODRUFF: Despite the presence of Nader.
SCHNEIDER: Despite the presence Nader, that's right. The Ventura vote, a lot of it, 9 percent went for Ralph Nader, but clearly most of it went for Al Gore.
GREENFIELD: We should also point out that Minnesota does tend to be a very Democratic state. In 1984, Walter Mondale, his home state, the only state that they carried. Dukakis carried that state. But it's interesting, Bill, you know we've been hearing about the Dukakis notion, that so many states were in play. Turns out at least Gore picked up one of them -- Bernie.
SHAW: Let's go to Washington. What do you suppose Mary Matalin and Mike McCurry are thinking now, being the partisans they are, as they analyze its data as we report it. Mary, to you first.
MATALIN: Well, I want to reiterate the competition in Florida and Pennsylvania isn't over, but as the Bush campaign looks West to the states that you've been looking at, there is a way to add 33 states up to 270 plus and as they went to bed, as you will, and as our exit polls seem to be suggesting, even though we're not talking about them, Bush is leading in all those states. Yes, it's threading the needle as we say, but they see their way there and again are not giving up on Pennsylvania and Florida.
MCCURRY: You know, if you talk to the Gore campaign folks, they say the news tonight are the news, New Mexico, New Hampshire, two states that they really went out and tried to win as if it was the New Hampshire primary contest. They've thrown everything at those two states and I was not surprised to hear John King report earlier that even the president has been doing turn out calls out West.
They've had a very massive mobilization effort under way that they think will bring it home for the vice president by the time the evening is over. One other thought, we haven't talk about this tonight, too, the closeness of that race is not generating any kind of mandate at the Congressional level in either the Senate or the House for either one of the two presidential candidate. We have to start thinking a little bit about what kind of shape both candidates will be in to govern if they end up with a very divided electorate and a very divided Congress come next January.
SHAW: Please address this question, first you, Mary, why do you suppose Rick Lazio lost tonight to Hillary Rodham Clinton?
MATALIN: Well, I think we addressed this earlier. There are two million more Democrats in the state of New York. He only campaigned for five hours. He did -- excuse me, five months, and he didn't have the entire weight of the White House behind him. He wasn't able to bed people in the Lincoln Bedroom for fund raisers. He wasn't able to use the president to drop photos out of the White House. He was at a serious disadvantage up against a formidable foe who had all this at her back, all of these advantages of the incumbency of the White House.
MCCURRY: Mary missed one very important fact. Hillary Clinton worked her heart out. She went all over that state, even upstate New York where sometimes Democrats are not greeted warmly, she went and really did convince the people of New York that she wanted to be their senator and that message sent her to the Senate tonight.
MATALIN: Bernie, let me make a point about this. Hillary Clinton went state shopping for a Senate seat. She has grown up in Illinois, she lived in Arkansas. She looked for a state where there was significant Democratic registration advantage. She's no dummy, but she ran a very dull campaign, said absolutely nothing. Yes, it was methodical but it had nothing to do with anything she has ever done in her life or any state that she's lived in.
SHAW: Neither of you has mentioned a person that I alluded to earlier her, I happen to believe that her husband whispering strategy into her ear and campaigning with her was a major factor. Now allow me turn that point to the national presidential race and ask you would this race be as close as it between Al Gore and Governor Bush had President Clinton campaigned doggedly for and with Al Gore?
Mary, you first.
MATALIN: Well, if Al Gore loses, then that distinct possibility if people continue to vote just because states are being called. The West still has to get out there and vote. Of course, that's what the Democrats will charge but own polls here at CNN said that 40 percent would be less likely to vote for the vice president if Bill Clinton was out there. I will say again he had to become his own man or campaign as his own man, as it were, but Bill Clinton was drag on him with those very voters he needed at the end and I think he made one the few right decisions of that otherwise badly-run campaign.
MCCURRY: I couldn't disagree more. The story tonight is turn- out, momentum, mobilization. The president has been a very key part the Democratic effort to turn-out the base of Democratic Party tonight, which loves this president, and I think if the vice president wins tonight a very large part of reason is because the Bill Clinton Democratic Party came home and came back to the center. We are all new Democrats now. That is the legacy that the president gave to the vice president and that's probably why the vice president will win.
MATALIN: Excuse me, minority voters in urban centers and the union vote are not New Democrats and, God forbid that Al Gore does get elected, it'll be impossible for him governor with this old liberal Democrat coalition. They are not even of this century. Those will be the groups that are responsible for why he's ahead in some of these states now and how he's going to appeal to them and still govern for the rest of the nation in some semblance of a New Democratic posture is impossible to fathom.
SHAW: Mike and Mary, I'm going to step in here and say go to your corners for a moment and you're in Washington...
GREENFIELD: Do you think Mary is going to jump on the inaugural platform if Gore wins and try to drag him away?
SHAW: Well, they're in Washington and we're going to check in with our man Wolf Blitzer, who will give us a little bit of an idea how things look in balance of power on the Hill right now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Bernie, we've been spending a lot of time talking about the Senate, some time about the governors. We now have the first pick-up in the House of Representatives. The Democrat Brad Carson defeating Andy Ewing. This is a seat that was given up because representative Tom Coburn, the Republican, was retiring, a Democrat has now picked up that seat in Oklahoma.
In Connecticut, look at this, Representative Sam Gejdenson is trailing the Republican Robert Simmons. Gejdenson, 20-year veteran in the U.S. Senate, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee. In Pennsylvania, a very close race between Melissa Hart and Terry Van Horne. The Democrat and Republican were in a bitter battle. Very close right now, still very tight. We can't call this race. Let's come back to that later. But for now let's go back to Judy on the national desk
WOODRUFF: Wolf, we have some video we want to show you right now. Just a few minutes ago Governor Bush in a Texas hotel suite with his wife Laura. Let's listen in to some of this
BUSH: You just happened to be calling when about 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Yes, good. Well, call me when you hear something. Thanks. That was governor of Pennsylvania. Well. he's not conceding anything and I'm not either in the state of Pennsylvania nor are we conceding anything in Florida. I know you've all the projections but people are actually counting the votes.
I had a strong statement to make and my man's Bruni's (ph) technology went down the tubes. I just -- this was Governor Ridge calling when you came up and he doesn't believe the projections. He believe there is votes outstanding. We've got heavy turnouts in what he calls the T of Pennsylvania. We're getting the same report out of Florida as well. The network's called this thing awfully earlier and people are actually counting the votes have different perspective so, .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 30 seconds.
BUSH: Pardon me? First time in.
WOODRUFF: Television cameras allowed into the hotel suite there in Austin, Texas, where Governor George W. Bush watching returns with his father, former President George Bush, his mother, Barbara, his wife, Laura, and others in the room.
And what we heard was Governor Bush on the phone with, he said, with Texas -- I'm sorry, with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who is saying that he doesn't believe Pennsylvania has gone for Gore, as CNN and other news organizations have called that state.
He also said he doesn't -- he's not ready to concede Florida and its 25 electoral votes. And frankly, if, Jeff and Bernie and Bill, if Governor Bush is correct, that would make a huge difference. We're talking about 48 very important electoral votes that he's not conceding.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
Those three states -- those two states, Pennsylvania and Florida, both have Republican governors, one of whom is his brother, I think he was counting, is still counting on those Republican governors, Tom Ridge in Pennsylvania, a very close friend of Governor Bush and his brother, in Florida, and for that matter in Michigan. He didn't mention that, but John Engler one of his earliest supporters, all Republican governors.
He's probably counting on them to deliver and to prove the networks wrong.
SHAW: Yes, and Governor Ridge apparently telling Governor Bush that in the T of Pennsylvania, there's still lots of votes out.
WOODRUFF: I did hear just quickly, Jeff, Governor Bush, when he talked to reporters mid-afternoon, he said his parents were, in his words, nervous about tonight, He said, I feel confident, but they're nervous. GREENFIELD: Well, I think if your parents were looking at you to be the first man since John Quincy Adams to succeed a father into the White House, you'd be nervous. I mean, you get nervous when your kid's in a high school play.
But I think, in fairness, these projections are not infallible. There are times when the networks have to eat a hearty portion of crow. It happened to Senator Bob Smith in New Hampshire in 1996. The networks called it for his opponent, had to bring it back.
But I think, Bill, and you're the maven on this one, that generally networks do not call unless they have a pretty high degree of assurance, correct?
SCHNEIDER: That is correct. We have a pretty high degree of assurance that Florida and Pennsylvania have gone for Al Gore.
Bernie mentioned a second ago the T of Pennsylvania. That may be a little mysterious, but that's the largely rural area of Pennsylvania in between the Philadelphia area and the Pittsburgh area. People in Pennsylvania -- you must spend a lot of time there -- they call that the T because it's sort of a T-shaped area, very, very rural and usually heavily Republican. That's why Governor Bush says he's relying on the T, that rural Republican area to deliver.
WOODRUFF: In both those states, Bill, in the case of Florida, where the polls closed at 7:00 Eastern, and Pennsylvania, where the polls closed at 8:00 Eastern, in neither instance did CNN, as far as we know -- and that's all we know about at this point -- we didn't call it at this moment. We did wait for some of this so-called "key" precincts from around the state to come in.
GREENFIELD: I want to make one point about this. As we talk about Pennsylvania and Florida and Michigan, in American politics, finger pointing is an -- absolutely an Olympic sport. And you just wonder if the news continues to be not so great for Governor Bush, how many people immediately are going to be saying, you never should have gone to California. You never should have dumped those millions of dollars into that state. You should have saved them for the battlegrounds.
WOODRUFF: Well, we already heard some of that earlier tonight from I believe it was Scott Reed who we were talking to. In fact, Jeff, I think you asked him the question, what are some of the second guessings going to be, and that was parts of it.
SCHNEIDER: That's my favorite part of the campaign. I call it recriminations. When someone loses, you can have fun for weeks with everybody blaming everybody.
GREENFIELD: You should have listened to me.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, that's what they all say.
GREENFIELD: You should have listened to me. SHAW: Stand by, stand by -- CNN right now is moving our earlier declaration of Florida back to the too-close-to-call column. Twenty- five very big electoral votes, and the home state of governor's brother, Jeb Bush, are hanging in the balance. This is no longer in the victory for Vice President Gore. We're moving it back...
GREENFIELD: Oh, waiter...
SHAW: into the too close to call.
GREENFIELD: One order of crow.
SCHNEIDER: One order of crow, yes.
GREENFIELD: Now let's -- could we just would review this again, how we...
SHAW: Well, I think in the fullness of time tonight we're going to have an explanation for this. But we're reporting to you what's happening.
WOODRUFF: Well, we're -- what we're being told by our executive producer, Sid Bettingfield (ph), is that based on the information we have from Florida, we don't entirely trust all the information that we have. And I assume the VNS service -- and, Bill, you can explain all this...
WOODRUFF: ... is part of it.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. The networks and the Associated Press collaborate in supporting a research service, really, Voter News and Surveys, which does the exit polling and also collects the data from sample precincts around the country. And they're the ones who provide us with the information that allow us to call the states.
We are normally very cautious. We haven't retracted, we've simply said at the moment we're not sure of that call so we're going to say we're not ready to confirm it at this point.
WOODRUFF: Clarify for us, again, Bill, what goes into making a call?
SCHNEIDER: The exit polls, which we look at, the voters coming out of the polling booth all over the country, sample precincts, where we look at precincts that have been pre-selected around the states to see how their voting compared with how they voted in the past...
WOODRUFF: For example, in the state of Florida...
SCHNEIDER: ... sample precincts...
WOODRUFF: ... there would be several key precincts.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, all -- a number of key precincts all over the state. And we take into account the absentee ballots, which are, in many states, counted very quickly.
GREENFIELD: Now let's just...
SHAW: Do you like your crow well done?
GREENFIELD: Well that's just -- that's why I'd like to put on the table this fact. But to look ahead at the map, the electoral map, and vote, if you take 25 votes away from Al Gore and put it in the undecided column, and should they break for Bush, the entire calculation of the last hour and a half changes dramatically...
WOODRUFF: Very different, yes, very different.
GREENFIELD: ... because at that point -- you know, one thing that's tricky to remember, if you take 25 votes from one side and put it to the other, the actual shift is 50 electoral votes...
GREENFIELD: ... and that's a big number. We're not saying that's going to happen, but this might -- just got even more complicated and tricky and fascinating than it has been up to now.
WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley joins us from Austin -- Candy.
CROWLEY: I think you can hear the crowd's reaction to Florida being put back...
... not too close to call. You also heard the governor saying, look, it's way too close to call. So that's what they've been feeling all along. Obviously, they had to be satisfied with this change back into the toss-up column.
WOODRUFF: Candy, explain again, if you will -- I know you've been talking about this all day -- but why is Florida such an important piece of their calculation, and Pennsylvania for that matter, both of which the governor was challenging?
CROWLEY: Well, first of all, Florida is one of those states that they've always said, the pundits have always said, it's very tough to put together an electoral map without Florida. There was also, obviously, the family connection.
I have to tell you, though, that even now they say they can win without Florida, but they don't believe they're going to have to. Pennsylvania, obviously, a major battleground state. They felt they would get a boost with Tom Ridge. You saw the governor talking to Tom Ridge. They have been in there quite a bit. They still hold out hope for that state. We yet still are calling that for Vice President Gore, but this is one of those amazing nights.
So they're obviously very energized in this crowd, and I can assure you in the Bush campaign.
WOODRUFF: Well we knew it was going to be a little amazing, we just didn't know how amazing this night was going to be.
Candy Crowley, hang on to your hat because we don't know what's going to happen tonight. We've been saying it all night long, and we just have have proven it. Could you pass the crow, Jeff?
GREENFIELD: Well, you know -- listen, there's nothing more delightful -- and I have to say this as a member of the press -- than watching an election when you actually have to wait and see what the voters are going to do.
One of the things that has made this night so tricky is that it's been 25 years since we've had an election where we had to go deep into the night and wait.
In 1976, it was about 2:33 in the morning before Mississippi and Ohio gave that very close race to Jimmy Carter. And it may well be -- this is another thing that the night may prove -- that many, many, many of these states are going to be decided by close margins, which is what makes the popular vote count as we get deeper into the night even more fascinating.
SHAW: And one of the things adding to this is the muscle that organized labor is rolling out this night.
John King reporting from Nashville, Tennessee, said he was on the phone with the AFL-CIO's political director, who said that the union voters who had voted in Pennsylvania and other midwestern locations -- shall I continue, or...
WOODRUFF: Bernie, I'm interrupting you...
WOODRUFF: ... because it is 10 o'clock on the East Coast and polls have closed in five states, and we are able to call George W. Bush the winner in the state of Utah. He takes its five electoral votes.
In the state of Idaho, another win for George W. Bush, wrack up four more electoral votes for the governor of the state of Texas. Nevada is one too close to call, Nevada's four electoral votes. We're not able to call that state one way or another.
Montana, another checkmark there for the governor of Texas and its three electoral votes. And the last state for the polls to close at this hour, Iowa, the Hawkeye state with seven electoral votes, we are not able to call it.
So it just gets more exciting and more exciting, and here is the electoral map. We are going to be looking at this throughout the night. At this hour, with the polls closed in all but four states -- I'm sorry -- five states across the United States, we are able to give George W. Bush 197 electoral votes -- his states are those in red -- Vice President Al Gore 167 electoral votes -- his states in blue. And all those states in yellow we don't have enough information yet to give them one way or another. SCHNEIDER: And let us commemorate the fact that this could be a night when the West will actually continue to vote before the election is over. They always complain in Oregon and California, Washington, that the election is over and their polls are still open. Well, it looks like the election is not going to be over, and California, Oregon and Washington are going to vote, and they could cast the decisive votes in this election.
SHAW: That's the point Mike McCurry was making earlier.
GREENFIELD: In fact...
SHAW: This could actually...
GREENFIELD: Yes. Well, right on through. I mean, maybe we will at midnight be waiting to see what Alaska does. It is true that the West complaints in the past years are right, then tonight there should be about a 95 percent turnout in Washington and Oregon and California.
But do you remember, in one sense, the pre-election predictions have been true. That is we have been saying for a long time that we may be here late at night waiting for Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, and some of the Western states to report. Well, it's 10 o'clock, which is late by some of our standards, and we're waiting for Iowa and Wisconsin and Florida and the West to report. And it is -- it is as close as you can imagine in terms of trying to put together this 270 vote total.
One other point, in past years at this hour, we'd be talking about broad national trends sweeping across the country deciding the election. But it seems to me that every time you come up with an exit poll there's another trend or a trend-ette. I mean, it doesn't seem that there's any one theme driving this election.
SHAW: Guess what: He has another...
SCHNEIDER: I have another one.
SHAW: ... exit poll.
SCHNEIDER: And I'm not sure it'll give you a them, but it's an interesting one about Iowa. We haven't called Iowa yet. It was a Dukakis state, it was a Clinton state, not called. One of the reasons it's hard to call is look at the independent vote. They're about a third of the Iowa voters, and the independents there are split down the middle about evenly between Gore and Bush and 9 percent for other candidates.
Independents around the country have generally broken in past elections pretty heavily for the Republicans. Democrats rarely carry independent voters. But in Iowa today and in other states, we're seeing the independents splitting right down the middle, and they are the crucial swing votes, and they're the ones who are making this election so close.
SHAW: Are we beginning to get much of a whiff of the Nader factor tonight?
SCHNEIDER: Not yet, not really yet. The Nader -- because the states -- Nader is not getting that many votes in most of the states we've already called. We're waiting to see Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the West Coast states. That's where you can make a difference.
And let me add something: There was a movement among Nader voters to wait until late at night to vote for a simple reason. They said they want to find out if Al Gore needs their votes. So some of them may be waiting up in Oregon and Washington and California elsewhere to decide how to vote, to see whether or not Al Gore needs their vote or whether they can safely vote for...
SHAW: Polls are open...
GREENFIELD: We have called Minnesota for Gore.
SCHNEIDER: We have called Minnesota.
GREENFIELD: Yes, but -- and that was a state where we thought Nader might play big, but Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington, Oregon to come. We still don't know.
WOODRUFF: Interesting. More than a little calculation on the part of some Nader voters. We learned in the last couple of weeks or so there have been Web sites set up for Nader voters in states where they were worried that their vote for Ralph Nader might hurt Al Gore, might tip the state to George W. Bush. They set up a swapping system where they would communicate with the voters in a state that was going to most definitely go either all for Gore or all for Bush, and they swapped so that they could cast -- the other voter could cast a vote for Ralph Nader to help him get to that 5 percent...
SCHNEIDER: My guess -- my guess is that if we had called the race already for one of the two presidential candidates, either Gore or Bush, the Nader vote in Oregon, Washington and California would swell. But we haven't called it.
SHAW: And CNN earlier today, Judy, had on in interviews some of these Nader voters and some of these people who swapped votes. It was very interesting listening to their rationales, too.
WOODRUFF: We have a call to make in the state of New Hampshire. CNN declares that Texas Governor George W. Bush will take the four electoral votes. Every vote counts, folks. The four electoral votes in the state of New Hampshire go to the governor of Texas.
So let's look at his total now. He is over the 200 mark at 201 electoral votes. Those are the states in red. Al Gore, 167, the states in blue. And an awful lot of states still in yellow that we are not able to call one way or another. But New Hampshire, a state that Al Gore and George W. Bush wanted to win, both would have liked to have had.
SHAW: He lost it in the winter, he won it in the fall.
SCHNEIDER: And McCain had a lot to do with both of those eventualities. New Hampshire looks like a little red lonely outpost up there in the solid blue Gore Northeast. And McCain had a great deal to do with that. It appears that he helped deliver New Hampshire.
WOODRUFF: Here's another -- I'm going to interrupt. We've got another call to make. The state of Missouri...
GREENFIELD: Oh boy.
WOODRUFF: ... the Show Me state goes for George W. Bush, 11 electoral votes in his corner. It's racking up. If it was 202, this makes it 213 for George W. Bush.
It's getting interestinger and interestinger as they said in "Alice in Wonderland."
SHAW: Well, psychologically, Governor Bush has to feel good, cracking the 200 point.
WOODRUFF: 212, I misspoke.
WOODRUFF: These are pictures from Austin, Texas, the Bush crowd reacting to the polls, both Missouri and New Hampshire falling into the George W. Bush column.
GREENFIELD: This reminds me of "Rocky," you know, or one of those boxing movies, where in one round one guy's down, and there's a nine count and he staggers to his feat, and then he knocks the other guy down. What makes this interesting -- well, it's been interesting since we started -- but all of the notions of how to look at this campaign, in which we said, look, we can tell you what states it's going to come down, it may come down to a handful of small states that really never seem to matter in the fight for the presidency.
Look, Nevada is out. New Hampshire's electoral votes could make a key difference. Arizona is still out. I think Colorado is still out. New Mexicos is still out. These are states that generally have very little to do with the outcome of a presidential campaign that are fought in the big battleground states.
But the way this electoral map is adding up, one of those tiny states that's in play could wind up deciding the presidency.
SHAW: Larry King is standing by in Washington. He has some guests -- Larry.
L. KING: We do, Bernie. We start with William Bennett, the co- director of Empower America, the -- he was President Reagan's chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and secretary of education as well as the drug czar for President Bush.
Your mood has changed since you arrived here tonight. What do you make of this night, Bill?
WILLIAM BENNETT, CO-DIRECTOR, EMPOWER AMERICA: Well, the last half hour has been good. I think the next half hour is Bush country, too. We'll see.
I've got a comment, though, Larry. You know, I'm not a conservative press-basher. A lot of conservatives are. But this really shouldn't happen. You should not call a state and then have to take it back. You're not the only guys who did it. NBC did it. I think other people did, too.
But there have been all these tributes to democracy and all these explanations that we may have to be here late this evening or into tomorrow. Well, let's stay late this evening or into tomorrow. You don't call a state like Florida, as big and critical as Florida, and then take it back off the board.
This affects how people think. It takes the air out of people's enthusiasm. I mean, I'm glad that mistake is corrected, but Bill Schneider was saying, we're going to be very cautious. Well, should have been very cautious and not called them in the first place.
That's really -- that's really an interference in democracy.
L. KING: And the same on the other side. Do you think if Bush is close on one they should not call it?
BENNETT: Not if -- not if -- I mean, they should obviously observe whatever structures and rules they've got. But of course, this isn't a point about liberal bias I'm making. This is a point about procedures and following it right and counting right, you know, doing your math right and doing your homework.
But I mean, this should not happen to either side. I don't know if it's the eagerness for ratings. But you know, we've already been told that we might expect a long night, into tomorrow.
L. KING: And you were told correctly.
BENNETT: Fine, democracy can survive that. We can do that. The American people are grown up enough. You don't have to tell us something that you're not really reasonably sure of.
L. KING: What do you make of this swing through the night one way back and forth?
BENNETT: Well, I mean, it's -- it's a very close contest, obviously. The turnout's interesting. There are some pieces I don't -- I don't understand.
I've heard that there was a large, you know, absentee ballot participation in Florida and in other states. I think there was a big one in Texas when Governor Bush ran for governor. Your other guests can talk about that. I may be right; I may be wrong about that.
But what's the turnout of the Christian right? We've heard a lot about labor and African-Americans. That's surely big numbers. Where's the religious right? I'm curious about that. Where are the Catholics? They were a big target. I'd like to know the answer to that. And the suburbs seem to be pretty interestingly -- pretty interestingly split.
Before we had this retraction of Florida, you know, one had to comment, you know, loyal Republicans still had to comment, hey, three Republican governors -- Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. But now obviously, that's in question, and Governor Ridge is calling Governor Bush, saying Pennsylvania is still in play. So, it is a long night, and, again if we can stay up for Johnny and David and other ridiculous things, we can sure stay up for democracy. Don't do this to us, guys.
L. KING: Thanks, Bill, thanks for your thoughts.
BENNETT: Thank you.
L. KING: William Bennett, the co-director of Empower America. We understand there is another call coming in a moment. As soon as we get it, we will go right to it. Ann Richards, you have deflated in the last half hour.
RICHARDS: Well, actually I have just feel like I have begun my day because I have gotten lectured by Bill Bennett, which, you know, you don't feel like you can go all day without it.
RICHARDS: Sure, sure, and I know why, because what the Republicans do, is they make a concerted effort -- and the Bush people did this in my race -- and so I know they have done it in this race. I told everybody watch out for it. They make a concerted effort to register absentee voting for military.
L. KING: Still a vote, though.
RICHARDS: Absolutely, nothing wrong with it, just smart as it can be, because it is a sleeper vote. You never see it. They make a real effort to get them registered.
L. KING: Hold on, Ann.
Let's go to Judy Woodruff. We are calling another state -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Larry, we do have a state to call. The state of West Virginia, CNN calls, is in the corner for George W. Bush. The Texas governor takes West Virginia's five electoral votes. This is based not only on interviews with voters as they left the polling places but also on our analysis of key sample precincts throughout the state.
Now, let's look again at the totals on the electoral map: 270 needed to win at this hour. It is 10:12 eastern time, we are giving George W. Bush 217 electoral votes, those states in red. We are giving Al Gore 167, the states in blue. The ones we are not able to call yet are the states in yellow. So the map is ever-changing.
Larry, back to you.
L. KING: West Virginia, a state that should never be lost by the Democrats.
What do you make of it?
RICHARDS: I thought we would lose West Virginia.
L. KING: So, what do you need to do now to win this?
RICHARDS: So, what we have to do now to win it, and, I think the one that's hurt us the worst for my news is New Hampshire. We have to win Washington, now. We have to win Oregon, now. We have declared we've got Minnesota, win California, Hawaii. And then we have to pick up another small state like Arizona, New Mexico. Of course we have to have Florida back.
L. KING: We understand Donna Brazile, who is the wheel behind the cog of the Gore campaign is with us now.
Donna, are you there?
DONNA BRAZILE, GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes, sir good evening. How are you? And I'd also like to say hello to Governor Richards as well.
RICHARDS: Hey, Donna, good job, girl.
L. KING: What do you make of these shifting tides, Donna?
BRAZILE: You know, the tide is turning and I still believe that this election night is still young. There are many states that are still out there voting. We have people who are standing in lines in St. Louis, in Colorado, and other places. And you know, there are many small states that are still out there, some more absentee ballots, Governor Richards talked about the military. Well, you know, there are seniors, there are a are lot of union households that voted absentee, African-Americans. I believe we had a great turnout today. So, this election night is still young, so...
L. KING: But a half hour ago, frankly did you -- weren't you feeling much better a half hour ago before they took Florida from the win column to the maybe column? and then suddenly losing New Hampshire and West Virginia?
L. KING: And Missouri.
BRAZILE: I still feel that Florida is -- I still believe that Florida is in the Gore column. You know, we started off with day in Florida. The vice president was there last night. Senator Lieberman joined us in Tampa. We had a tremendous turnout in Florida, all across the state. So, I don't believe Florida should be taken out of the Democratic column. I think it is premature, and we will see what happens over the next couple hours in the state of Florida. But, remember, we still have a number of states that are voting. The polls are still open in a couple states and we are going to take many of those last remaining states tonight.
L. KING: Has Ralph Nader -- and he is due to be with us in this hour -- has he hurt you tonight?
BRAZILE: I have not heard a lot about Ralph Nader today. I have talked to radio stations across the country to our campaign workers and we didn't see a lot of force out there. It was a lot of hype but not a lot of votes. So, I believe that Vice President Al Gore is doing a great job tonight. We are bringing home a lot of Republicans and Democrats and independents alike, voting for Al Gore. And, as well as Green voters.
L. KING: So, are you, Donna, predicting that you will pull this out? BRAZILE: I'm still predicting a victory tonight. It will be a surprise to some of you who are, you know, calling the shots right now. But, I still believe the American people are speaking, they're voting with feet and they are standing in line waiting to cast their ballot. They have their voice heard and Al Gore will still be the winner tonight.
KING: Thank you, Donna.
And Ann Richards will be back with us at midnight when we are joined once again by the rest of our panel, Senator Baker and Bob Woodward. We also expect to hear from Ralph Nader in this hour.
I'm Larry King, now back to election central down in Atlanta and here is Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Larry. Thanks a lot. And it is a heart- stopping night of an election. We are going to take a break now, but when we come back, we do expect, as Larry said, to hear from Ralph Nader shortly. We are also will talk to Tom Daschle who is the Democratic leader in the United States Senate. Much, much more, stay with us.
WOODRUFF: Nineteen minutes after 10:00 Eastern time. There are still five states where the people are voting, plus the area around St. Louis, where we are told a judge ordered that the polls remain open after many people complained that there were more people who wanted to vote and didn't have time to do so.
We have been looking at the electoral vote. Let's look now at the raw vote total. These are real counted numbers. Well, we will look at the electoral vote first. I take that back, my mistake. Out of the 270 needed to win, George Bush is 217 electoral votes of the way there. They are the red states on this map that we have put together to this point. Al Gore, 167 electoral votes. His states are the ones in blue. The yellow states are the ones we are not able to call yet. With 37 percent of the precincts in the country reporting, this is the raw vote: George W. Bush with 50 percent of the popular vote, 20 million votes, 20.4 million. And Al Gore with 48 percent, 19.6 million. We were told going into today that maybe about 100 million Americans would be voting. We'll see whether that is correct. We never know those turnout numbers until every vote is counted.
Joining us from, I believe, is it Washington? Tom Daschle, from Washington, D.C., the nation's capitol, a familiar face. Tom Daschle, of course, the Democratic leader of the United States Senate.
Senator Daschle, I'm going to ask you about the Senate in a minute, but first of all your reaction on what's happening in the presidential race so far.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE, (D), MINORITY LEADER: Well, Judy, we knew that it was going to be close from the very beginning. And, as you said, there are still five states that are still counting votes and still allowing people to vote, so this far from over. We are going to watch how those states come in. We know that these other states are going to be very close and we are still optimistic. We still are very hopeful that this thing could be ours before the night is out. And I think that there is a real possibility of that.
WOODRUFF: What are you -- at this point, what is, in your estimation, what does Al Gore have to have to rack up some more numbers on that map that we have been showing to put him over 270?
DASCHLE: Well, obviously, we have to take those states that have not yet been won. We know we can -- we've got a real good chance in Florida. We know we've got a real good chance in some of the western states that have not yet been counted. We think we've got a good chance in Missouri, where the voting has been very heavy all day long.
WOODRUFF: Senator Daschle, if you don't mind, I'm going to interrupt because we do have a call to make. CNN says that the state of New Mexico goes into the corner of Al Gore. Vice President Gore picks up the five electoral votes in the state of New Mexico. That is a -- and that adds another handful to the total we have given Al Gore. That blue state that has popped up there on -- just to the left of Texas, is New Mexico, of course. And we have now given it to Al Gore. So the total for George W. Bush, 217, for Al Gore, 172.
Senator Daschle, I'm sorry to interrupt you. But, that puts him a little bit closer.
DASCHLE: Exactly, and that makes my point. There are all these states that are still out there that are very close. And I think that there is a -- you are going to see more of those blue states coming in tonight.
WOODRUFF: What about in the institution that you are most closely connected with, the United States Senate? At this point, we have Democrats with a pick-up of one. Where did you think this night is going to end up? What are you hearing from all your sources?
DASCHLE: Well, we are very encouraged. And as I said, there is still a lot of states that are still voting and we don't want to discourage anybody from making sure that they participate tonight. But I do believe that we are going to be picking up additional seats as we go through. We have a real good chance, as you know, in Missouri. We've got an excellent chance in Michigan. We know we have already won in Minnesota. I still think there is a possibility, of course, in Montana and Washington. So, we've got a lot of to look forward to tonight, and these states look very good for us right now.
WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Tom Daschle, the minority leader of the United States Senate, we thank you very much for being with us. And we hope we can talk to you again very soon. And right now, we want to go -- thanks very much, Senator -- right now we want to go back to Washington, to Larry King.
L. KING: Thank you, Judy.
Joining us now is Ralph Nader, the candidate of the Green Party. He is still expectantly awaiting the results in Washington and Oregon where he is supposed to have run strong.
Are you disappointed tonight, Ralph? Ralph, do you hear me OK?
RALPH NADER, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can, they just quieted down here. They are so boisterous, yes.
L. KING: Are you disappointed?
NADER: Yes, go ahead.
L. KING: Are you disappointed?
NADER: Oh, no, we're coming out of this election with millions of votes, with the third-largest political party in America, replacing the Reform Party, the fastest-growing party. In the year 2002, there are going to be thousands of candidates on the green line, local, state and national.
And right away, this week we become a watchdog party, a viable watchdog party on the two parties, telling them they're going to have to shape up or they're going to shrink down and lose votes in the future. And I think the progressive wing of the Democratic Party understands that they're going to be more influential in trying to wrest control from their party away from the right-wing Democratic Leadership Council.
L. KING: Are you disappointed, though, in only 2 percent of the vote thus far, around 2 percent nationally, and you were expecting, I think, 4 to 5?
NADER: I'm expecting a new party with millions of voters. We're at 9 percent in Minnesota and New England states. We're at 6, 7 percent. Colorado 7 percent. It's too early to tell.
We've got a lot of young voters that tend to vote late, and we've got polls still open in the West Coast and Hawaii and Alaska, and they're coming in. I mean, they've got a terrific get-out-the-vote out there.
Whatever it is, Larry, you know me. I like to be the underdog. We're going to build this party in a big way, and we're going to challenge the two parties.
NADER: This is -- this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning, the takeoff stage to the next leap forward.
L. KING: And are you going to be candidate again by the way?
NADER: One election at a time.
L. KING: All right. Do you think you're going to cost Al Gore the election tonight? Honestly.
NADER: No. I think Al Gore only can beat Al Gore, as Dave Letterman said. I think it's important to note that whether Al Gore or George W. Bush gets into the White House, they're no longer the decision-makers on most issues, Larry. You and I and the media know it's the permanent corporate government that they write about, the swarming 22,000 corporate lobbyists in this city, the political action committees, the extravagant fund-raisers with big-business funds, both parties. That's what we're going for. That's what we're going for: to re-establish the sovereignty of the people against the present sovereignty of global corporation.
L. KING: Obviously, the crowd is watching you there. Would you tell us what if anything has surprised you tonight?
NADER: Nothing -- what has surprised me?
L. KING: Yes. As the -- look at the two other candidates. What in the election thus far has surprised you?
NADER: Well, that Bush -- that Bush is having a problem in Florida. I mean, this is really amazing. I think that two mistakes Bush made were on Social Security and on this tax cut that benefits the wealthy.
But you know, don't worry, the Democrats are very good, Larry, at electing very bad Republicans. They're going to lose the Congress to the Republicans probably: once again, the extreme wing of the Republican Party. You can't rely on the Democratic Party anymore to defend us. They sent Scalia and Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court as well.
L. KING: Wouldn't you rather have a moderate Democrat than an extreme Republican?
NADER: I'd rather have a person in the White House who doesn't take the marching orders from the corporate paymasters, and both of them don't qualify. They both flunk, and we're going to... (APPLAUSE)
We're going to...
We're now bringing in so many good people, you're going to see them surface in 2002, 2004. You know, we're in it for the long run, Larry, been are around for 37 years, and we're going to connect the civic groups and the political groups so that there's a real authenticity there that's really grounded.
L. KING: Why do you think Gore, as reported by CNN, has lost West Virginia tonight?
NADER: First, I don't think he campaigned enough in West Virginia, . Second, West Virginia has not participated in the economic boom, so to speak. They've been left behind. And he didn't take a strong stand against the coal industry to stop blowing those mountaintops off and rubble in the streams and shaking up all those hollows, all those communities that don't want that to happen.
I think he -- I think he misread that. I think he went with King Coal instead of the people of West Virginia, who want a responsive coal industry that addresses their needs.
KING: And what do your people tell you you're going to get in, say, Washington and Oregon?
NADER: We'll be getting probably 7, 8, 9 percent. You can't believe the enthusiasm in Eugene, Oregon. We may carry that. In Portland, Oregon.
We had the greatest political rallies of the presidential campaign, filled Madison Square Garden and the Boston Garden and Seattle and Minneapolis and the MCI Center. We had a great agenda.
The problem is, you know, you're climbing up against these two parties that exclude you from the debate. They command most of the media. They command far more of the money. Our whole budget is equal to what the Democratic Party pumped into political ads just in one state, Michigan.
But we know, we know what we're up against, and we're going to scale these two-party duopolies on the installment plan in election after election. And anybody who wants more detail about what really we intend to do and how we stand for the people of this country -- in reality, not just in rhetoric -- our Web site is Votenader.com.
L. KING: Thank you, Ralph. Always good seeing you.
NADER: Thank you, Larry.
L. KING: Ralph Nader with the crowd watching on the big screen: a loser tonight, but he says a winner. We'll be back at midnight with our outstanding panel and lots of thoughts and opinions. And it may not be over at midnight. Back to central headquarters in Atlanta and Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Larry, thanks a lot. Fascinating talking with Ralph Nader.
Jeff Greenfield, did you want to make a point?
GREENFIELD: Very quickly, Nader's other goal tonight, if he gets five percent of the popular vote, he is eligible for millions of dollars in federal campaign funds for the next campaign. Right now it doesn't look like he is going to make it and was a key goal.
WOODRUFF: But he says the votes are still being counted so...
GREENFIELD: God knows we have learned that tonight.
WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to take a quick break. When we come back we have much to look forward to, including Karl Rove, the campaign manager, chief strategist, I should say, for Texas Governor George W. Bush. He is in Austin. We will be right back.
SHAW: Updating you now on the battle for the White House, the battle between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush. Looking at the electoral map right now: The governor is leading the vice president 217 electoral votes to 172. These are the uncalled states, the undecided states: Arizona, Arkansas. You see what kind of electoral power they have in the right column. Colorado with eight. Florida, 25. That has been moved back into -- into the too-close-to- call column by CNN. The Hawkeye state, seven. Nevada, four. Wisconsin, 11.
This is the raw vote nationwide with 41 percent of all precincts reporting. Governor Bush with 22.6 million to Vice President Gore's 21.9 million.
Perhaps fewer people are watching these figures more intensely than Governor Bush's chief strategist, Karl Rove, who's in Austin, Texas. How do you cobble together the magic 270 electoral votes you need?
KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN CHIEF STRATEGISTS: Well, first, you named a number of states which are going to fall into the Bush column and which already have fallen on other networks: Wisconsin, Arkansas, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado. These are all states that we feel comfortable with, and there are 98 votes there.
If you include Florida -- and Florida, let me tell you, Bernie. You all called Florida before Florida even closed its polls. Florida is a state which votes in two time zones. The Republican panhandle of Florida is in the Central Time Zone, and you all called Florida before the polls had even closed in Panama City and Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola. And we feel good about Florida. We have a fabulous organization there.
Let me just give you a few examples. In congressional district one, our goal, which is the westernmost part of the panhandle, our goal was to come out of there with about an 80,000-vote margin. We'll come out of there with a 100,000-vote margin. And in the Jacksonville area, some of the Jacksonville counties, Saint Johns, our goal was to come out of there with a 12,000-vote margin. We'll come out with a 20,000-vote margin. In Clay County, our object, we're 7,000 votes ahead of our vote goal. In Pasco County, 7,000 votes ahead of our vote goal. There's only one county in the state that we found where we are running behind our vote goal. We're running behind our vote goal by 16,000 in one county, but we're making up for it all across the state. That's why Governor Bush is leading in the popular vote and why he will win Florida and its 25 electoral votes and the White House tonight.
SHAW: Which county is that where you're trailing by 16,000?
ROVE: Yes, Orange County, we'd hoped to win it by 10. We lost it by six. But Pinellas County, which we expected to lose, we're running ahead in Pinellas County by 22,000 votes ahead of our vote total.
And in Democrat parts of the state, like Dade County, Miami, we'd anticipated losing the county by up to 50,000 votes. With 12 percent of the vote in, we're actually up 8,000 votes in the county. And Broward, where we anticipated losing by 150,000 votes and still winning statewide, with about just over a quarter of the vote in, we're only 35,000 down. And in Palm Beach, with nearly half the vote in, we anticipated running 80,000 votes down in that county. We're only 30,000 down.
So we're running stronger in the Republican areas than we need to, and we're running much stronger than we need to in the Democrat areas, and we're very comfortable with where we are in Florida.
SHAW: Two points: We had some difficulty with the VNS data we received. The other point is that our criterion for calling races is we do so when 75 percent of the precincts in a state have closed. Question...
ROVE: Well, I just think -- I do think that that's one criteria you might want to think about changing, because, again, you called the state before the polls had closed in a considerable part of the state. And the results are becoming clear tonight that part of the state is, the panhandle, is voting overwhelmingly for Governor Bush, and maybe had something to do with why the numbers that you used in the earlier projection were wrong.
GREENFIELD: Karl, it's Jeff Greenfield. So just to be fair, are there other states that have been called for Al Gore that you would now say to us, watch it, you may be wrong about those, too?
ROVE: Well, I think one of them may be New Mexico, but we'll watch and see. I just think this whole issue of calling states on the basis of exit polling is something that needs to be taken another serious look at, just like the whole issue of running all these polls in the midst of a campaign.
But back to the main issue at hand, Governor Bush with 217 electoral votes has an easier path to 270 tonight than does Al Gore. We have a bunch of states in the West that Governor Bush is expected to win and will win, what's left out in the Midwest we feel very comfortable with. We're going to take Wisconsin and Iowa for certain, and Arkansas as well.
SHAW: And notwithstanding the fact that you have California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington still to be called.
ROVE: Well, we're going to take a couple -- we're going to take a couple of those states. All we need under your calculation is 58 electoral votes. Florida provides half of them, with 25, and then we get into Wisconsin with 11, Iowa with seven, Arkansas with six, Nevada with four, Oregon with seven, Arizona with eight, Colorado with eight, Alaska with three. And we're more than enough there.
SHAW: Well, we put Florida back into the too-close-to-call category. You're saying you're going to take Florida?
ROVE: You asked me how we're going to be able to do it, and yes, we're going to take Florida.
SHAW: Karl Rove, thanks very much.
ROVE: Yes, sir.
SHAW: Did you have a question, Bill Schneider?
SCHNEIDER: Yes. Well, I was going to say, do you believe you're going to take Oregon now?
ROVE: I believe we will. I mean, Oregon has been a -- is a logistical effort, because, as you know, Dr. Schneider, they vote by mail there. There are only 240 locations in the state where you could drop off your ballots today. You had to mail them in.
We have a massive effort to phone and mail and encourage people to get their ballots in, and we're very comfortable with where we think we are in Oregon. Also feel good about Washington state. I know Alaska is going to vote late, but it's going to vote strongly for George W. Bush.
And don't be too premature about California. As you know, Governor Deukmejian went into his election down in California, and won -- won because of the absentee ballots. Pete Wilson did the same. And we've got a grassroots effort like nobody's seen in California in a long, long time, and we're going -- we're coming hard for California. And who knows? We may just surprise you on the other coast just as we surprised you in Florida.
SHAW: Karl Rove, thanks for joining us -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: If I heard him correctly, he said he thinks they're going to win Wisconsin, all of these states now. I believe we have not called. Wisconsin, Arkansas, Oregon. We just heard him say Arizona. Colorado, he's optimistic about that -- Florida. And he said don't be too premature about the state of California.
So this is -- and this is somebody who's been watching these numbers day in and day out, and hour in and hour out.
One little explanation we want to go to now: One of the states where we've been able to call three-fourths of the electoral votes is the state of Maine. The way it works in Maine -- only one other state works this way, and that's Nebraska. The electoral votes are awarded not winner take all by the whole state, but awarded by congressional district.
So the person who gets the most votes in the state gets two for the state plus gets the one that they have a majority in.
GREENFIELD: Right. That's right. And so what we don't know yet is the other congressional district that's in the balance. And the way this election is going, Judy, that one electoral vote could be very, very large.
WOODRUFF: Could be very, very important.
And some of these states that we're talking about here, some of the ones that we just -- you know, Arkansas: six. Oregon is a little bit more, it's 7. But...
GREENFIELD: Well, Nevada.
SCHNEIDER: We should mention something to explain what Karl said. Oregon is the only state that had no polling places today. The Oregon election was conducted entirely by mail. Now what Karl Rove just told us was that they had a very concerted, organized effort in Oregon to get the vote out by the Bush supporters, and that's why they believe they're going to win that state, I think maybe with a little help from Ralph Nader's voters, but they had a way of organizing those votes to get the mail balloting in for George W. Bush. It's a very unusual state. There were no polling places.
GREENFIELD: We're going to know about...
WOODRUFF: There won't be any exit polls either because there were no polls.
GREENFIELD: No, but we will know pretty soon, because when the polls -- when the deadline happens, I think those votes are opened and counted...
WOODRUFF: They are -- by computer.
GREENFIELD: ... relatively quickly. They're counted by computer. But here we are.
SHAW: They may do it faster in Oregon than they do in Washington. WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, we need to get over to the "Balance of Power" desk to hear something about those very important non- presidential races -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Judy, let's take a look, first of all, at what's happening in the U.S. Senate. As you know, the Republicans had a 54- 46 majority. Right now, this is what it looks like: 35 Republican holdovers, 31 Democratic holdovers. Fourteen Republican wins tonight, 13 Democratic wins tonight.
Right now the new total, let's take a look at what we can project. It will be 49 Republicans in the U.S. Senate as of right now, 44 Democrats. Seven of those Senate seats still undecided.
We can call Orrin Hatch, the Republican from Utah, the winner, the former presidential candidate for the Republican nomination. He won.
There's a very close race going on right now in Missouri, Senator John Ashcroft, the incumbent, facing Mel Carnahan, the governor who passed away in a plane crash only a couple weeks ago, very close race. There was a controversy a little while ago. Earlier this evening, a lower court judge in Missouri kept the polls open for a while. They were subsequently closed by a state appeals judge. But the incumbent Republican, Kit Bond, speaking out in Missouri earlier lamented that decision to keep the polls open a bit longer.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KIT BOND (D), MISSOURI: So the Democratic Party in the city of St. Louis wants to perpetrate the biggest fraud on the voters of this state and on this nation that we've ever seen. I believe that criminal vote fraud should be prosecuted by the federal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Senator Kit Bond speaking out earlier on that decision to keep the polls open for a while in Missouri.
Let's take a look at what the pick-ups are in the U.S. Senate as of right now.
In Florida, Bill Nelson, the Democrat, has won. In Delaware, Tom Carper, the governor, has won the Senate seat. In Minnesota, Mark Dayton, the Democrat, has won. That is a pick-up as well.
There are two Republican pick-ups in the U.S. Senate: George Allen, the winner in Virginia, and John Ensign, here we go, the winner in Nevada beating Ed Bernstein, a criminal defense attorney. That was the open seat Richard Bryant left vacant.
Stuart Rothenberg, what do you make of this battle going on in the Senate right now? ROTHENBERG: Well, Wolf, everything is actually going as expected so far. There are five competitive seats outstanding, four of them currently held by Republicans, Missouri, Michigan, Montana and Washington, one of them held by a Democrat, actually a retiring Democrat in Nebraska.
If the Democrats are going to take control of the U.S. Senate, they're going to need to sweep all these races. That's going to be difficult.
BLITZER: There is a fierce battle going on in the House of Representatives as well. We do have a second pick-up that we can report right now. The state senator, Melissa Hart, defeating State Representative Terry Van Horne, the Democrat. That's the seat that Ron Klink gave up, the Democrat, in order to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
Let's take a look at the balance of power in the House with more than 50 percent now, half of the House races determined. We only have pick-ups right now, one Democratic pick-up, one Republican pick-up. This is unexpected as well, right, Stuart?
ROTHENBERG: Absolutely, Wolf. There are a number of Republican vulnerable seats that are now off the table. Ric Keller has one in that Orlando district. That two Republican incumbents in North Carolina, Charles Taylor and Robin Hayes, held on -- but so many close seats.
` In New Jersey, Mike Ferguson leads Maryanne Connolly by 1,900 votes with 45 percent in.
Pat Casey, a Democrat, a narrow lead over Dan Sherwood in the Scranton congressional district.
Dick Zimmer, a former congressman, has a narrow lead now, just pulled ahead in a narrow lead against Rush Holt in a New Jersey district. I could go on and on. We don't have enough time, but there are a lot of very close races.
SHAW: And we also are following the governor races. We can report right now in the state of the Utah, Mike Leavitt defeating Bill Orton, not a huge surprise, Mike Leavitt, the Republican in Utah.
The races for the governorships are not all that surprising either, are they, Stuart?
ROTHENBERG: No, I think actually they're less exciting than the congressional races, where you're really talking about control of a branch of the federal government. But for the people in those individual states, they're pretty important.
BLITZER: And so, just to button this up, the prospects of the Democrats regaining the majority in the House in the Senate right now, as we speak, at 10:45 or so Eastern time?
ROTHENBERG: It's still uncertain. There are just too many races out. But the Democrats need to make some gains over the next hour or two, because when they get to the West Coast, that's their best opportunity but they're going to probably need to be in plus territory by the time we get to Utah, Washington and California, where they should make some real gains.
BLITZER: And in California, they are expecting some pick-ups, Democrats, in California.
ROTHENBERG: Right, they have a chance to pick up three or four seats, one in Washington, one in Utah. So the way these early races are playing out is not disastrous for them, but they're not quite getting the breaks they had hoped to get.
BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, I want to go back to Bernie on the national desk -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Wolf. We continue covering this election night. The United States still does not have a new president. Our live coverage from CNN headquarters in Atlanta will continue in a moment.
WOODRUFF: As we're just 10 minutes away from the polls closing in the four states you just saw, we want to show you the popular vote in three very important states we cannot call yet. In the state of Florida, with 65 percent of the precincts reporting, George W. Bush carrying 52 percent of the popular vote to 46 percent for Al Gore.
In the state of Wisconsin, with 33 percent of the precincts reporting, George W. Bush 49 percent to Al Gore's 47 percent.
And in the state of Iowa, yet another state where we are not able to call the result, with 39 percent of the precincts reporting, look how close it is: 50 percent for Vice President Gore, 47 percent for George W. Bush.
These are some very, very close races. You can see with these vote totals why we have not called these three states. Hal Bruno, give us a closer look what's going on inside these states and why the vote is not certain yet one way or another.
BRUNO: Well, let's talk about Florida, Judy. Florida is -- Al Gore got what he needed to get out of the Gold Coast area and George Bush got what he had to get out of the Gulf Coast. But what happened here is George Bush is getting a heavy vote out of central and north Florida, also out here in the panhandle. The thing that's making it so close, though, is the Tampa Bay area, that's the toss-up swing area and both of them are doing well there.
WOODRUFF: All Right, I mean, it's remarkable. You can actually see when you draw those circles around the parts of the state, Hal, you get a much better idea of the kinds of things we just heard Karl Rove with the Bush campaign talking about.
BRUNO: Yes, he made a very good point when he said that, you know, the panhandle in there in the west is on a different time zone. That's on Central time, not on Eastern time, and a lot of votes still had to come in from there. Now it's not a heavily populated area, where Bush is really getting strength is from the central Florida region. And that's the transplanted Midwesterners.
WOODRUFF: All right, Hal Bruno -- Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: We're going to check in now in New York state. Earlier, we declared Hillary Rodham Clinton the winner in New York Senate race. Let's check in there at Lazio headquarters, listen to what's going on. Deborah Feyerick is there also.
Deborah, what's the latest?
FEYERICK: Hi, there. Sorry, Bernie, as you can see a big roar went up into this crowd. You would think that Lazio won. "New York, New York" is playing. There are happy, smiling faces. There's a general enthusiasm here. Even Rick Lazio and his wife, unflappable. That smile that you saw throughout the campaign. He's waving to his staff. He's waving to the crowd. He's there standing with Mayor Giuliani as well as New York governor George Pataki. Lazio knew he was the underdog going into this race. The GOP leaders had asked him to step aside. He wanted to get into this race much earlier. As you see the man standing there to the right Mayor Giuliani is the bigger political celebrity, and so Lazio didn't get into this race until 5 1/2 months ago. I don't know if you can hear me, but I'm sure you can hear what's going on behind me.
SHAW: Well, we can hear you. We don't know how much of a voice you're going to have in about two hours. But Deborah Feyerick in New York at Congressman Rick Lazio's headquarters. Earlier, CNN declared Hillary Rodham Clinton will become a senator from New York.
Still to come on CNN's election night coverage, "THE CAPITAL GANG," but at 11:00 p.m., Eastern time, polls will be closing in California with 54 electoral votes, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. That and much, much more. Please stay with us.
WOODRUFF: Live pictures from New York City, where Hillary Rodham Clinton celebrating with a few hundred of her closest friends up there, a very happy first lady this night. We don't see the president on the stage with her, but we do see the retiring Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who's seat she has evidently -- yes, there is the president. Whose seat she's been elected to, at least by our call. Their daughter, Chelsea.
GREENFIELD: Senator Chuck Schumer with, she helped elect two years ago and he helped her this time out. He will now be the lesser known senator, I think it fair to say, from the state of New York.
WOODRUFF: We know that not very far away from this place, Congressman Rick Lazio is speaking to supporters. We haven't been able to hear what he is saying, but we do know he is addressing a crowd at his headquarters elsewhere in New York City. This has to be a sweet, sweet night for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
GREENFIELD: Ad we should say that Daniel Patrick Moynihan, retiring after 24 years in the Senate, helped ease Mrs. Clinton's path in New York by introducing her when she came up to New York on her exploratory tour. There's Senator Schumer, who beat Al D'Amato two years ago.
SHAW: And he predicted many, many months ago that Hillary Rodham Clinton would win.
WOODRUFF: We're going to move over now to the headquarter -- rather, the hotel headquarters of Rick Lazio and listen to what the Congressman is saying.
REP. RICK LAZIO (R), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: I want to thank the campaign manager who worked so hard he almost ended up in the hospital. Bill Dal Col worked his heart out for this thing.
I want to thank two great leaders in our state, the first man who got into this race and worked hard throughout the campaign over these last few day, has knocked himself out. He's been a terrific friend to me. He's been an outstanding public servant and maybe the greatest governor our state has ever known, George Pataki. Thank you, George Pataki, and Libby as well.
I'd like to thank also another great public servant. Somebody who went to bat for me, worked very, very hard up until the last possible event, right before the polls closed, and that's our great mayor, again, one of the greatest mayors, Rudy Giuliani.
I want to thank a man who stood up for me last year, a man who stood on principle. A guy who has -- I love you, too.
Who's a dear, dear friend of mine, who has impeccable integrity, whose word you can count on and there's not a whole lot of folks in public service you can say that about, unfortunately, and that's our great Conservative Chairman Mike Long. Thank you, Mike.
Thank you, and I want to thank our Republican Chairman Bill Powers for working so hard. Thank you, Bill, thank you. Congressman Tom Reynolds who chaired my committee, who's, I know, back up in Buffalo. Worked incredibly hard. My great friend Rob Portman, who many of you saw on the campaign trial. Congressman Amory Houghton. My brother-in-law Mike Moriarty for his hard work, thank you.
And finally, the person who was my strongest supporter. My friend, the person who probably should have been the candidate for Senate this time around... SHAW: Rick Lazio conceding in New York to Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is 11:00 on the East Coast in the United States and CNN is prepared to make the following calls with the polls closing, most of them. Al Gore has won California's big prize, 54 electoral votes. Farther west in Hawaii, four electoral votes going to the vice president. The situation in Oregon, it is too close to call. We cannot call that race yet. Nor can we call the one in Washington, Washington state with its 11 electoral votes.
Looking to the moment at our electoral map, the vice president by winning California goes up over Governor Bush. Mr. Gore, 230 electoral votes, Mr. Bush, 217 electoral votes.
GREENFIELD: California, that is a state in which George Bush made a run and spent millions of dollars late in the campaign. It raised a few eyebrows. Some thought it was because they had a chance to carry it. Others said it was payback because the California Republicans were among the first group that went two years ago to Austin and asked Governor Bush to run and him to pledge that if he would run, he would not desert California the way his father and Senator Dole did.
Now, in Oregon and Washington, there are two states where the Nader factor may or may not come into effect. And once again, we take two second-tier states, put them in the undecided column with everything but Alaska reporting, you can see that the fate of the White House is in the hands of about eight or nine states that we cannot yet call.
WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to move all the way from the West Coast of the United States all the way over to the East Coast of the United States where this woman has made history tonight by being elected to the United States Senate, a first lady. Let's listen to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
SENATOR-ELECT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Thank you. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much. I mean, wow, this is amazing. Thank you all. Thank you.
(APPLAUSE) You know, we started this great effort on a sunny July morning in Pinder's Corner on Pat and Liz Moynihan's beautiful farm. And 62 counties, 16 months, three debates, two opponents and six black pantsuits later, because of you, here we are.
You came out and said that issues and ideals matter; jobs matter, down state and upstate; health care matters; education matters; the environment matters; Social Security matters; a woman's right to choose matters.
It all matters. And I just want to say from the bottom of my heart: Thank you, New York.
CLINTON: Thank you for opening up your minds and your hearts, for seeing the possibility of what we could do together for our children and for our future here in this state and in our nation. I am profoundly grateful to all of you for giving me the chance to serve you.
I will do everything I can to be worthy of your faith and trust, and to honor the powerful example of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
I would like all of you and the countless New Yorkers and Americans watching to join me in honoring him for his incredible half- century of service to New York and our nation.
Senator Moynihan, on behalf of New York and America, thank you.
And I thank Chuck Schumer for his generous support and friendship.
CLINTON: He has been and will be a great champion for the people of New York. And I very much look forward to fighting by his side in the United States Senate.
I want to thank both of my opponents, Mayor Giuliani and Congressman Lazio.
Congressman Lazio and I just spoke. I congratulate him on a hard-fought race, and I thank him for his service to the people of New York and Long Island. And I wish him, Pat and their two beautiful daughters well.
I promise you tonight that I will reach across party lines to bring progress for all of New York's families. Today we voted as Democrats and Republicans; tomorrow we begin again as New Yorkers.
And how fortunate we are, indeed, to live in the most diverse, dynamic and beautiful state in the entire union. (APPLAUSE)
You know, from the South Bronx to the southern tier, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, from Montauk to Massena, from the world's tallest skyscrapers to breathtaking mountain ranges, I've met people whose faces and stories I will never forget.
CLINTON: Thousands of New Yorkers from all 62 counties welcomed me into your schools, your local diners, your factory floors, your living rooms and front porches. You taught me. You tested me. And you shared with me your challenges and concerns about overcrowded or crumbling schools, about the struggle to care for growing children and aging parents, about the continuing challenge of providing equal opportunity for all, and about children moving away from their home towns because good jobs are so hard to find in upstate New York.
Now, I've worked on issues like these for a long time. Some of them for 30 years, and I am determined to make a difference for all of you.
CLINTON: You see, I believe our nation owes every responsible citizen and every responsible family the tools that they need to make the most of their own lives. That's the basic bargain I'll do my best to honor in the United States Senate.
And to those of you who did not support me, I want you to know that I will work in the Senate for you and all New Yorkers. And to those of you who worked so hard and never lost faith, even in the toughest times, I offer you my undying gratitude.
I will work my heart out for you for the next six years. And I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the steady support of so many people. I want to thank Charlie Rangel, Nita Lowey, and the entire New York Democratic congressional delegation, my future colleagues.
I'm very grateful for the support of our Democratic statewide elected officials and my good friends, Carl McCall (ph) and Elliott Spitzer (ph).
I want to thank Shelly Silver (ph) and all the Democratic assembly members, and Marty Connor and all the Democratic members of the state Senate. I want to thank all of my upstate friends who couldn't be here tonight, including Tony Maccello (ph), Bill Johnson, Jerry Jennings (ph), Mike Breslin (ph), Mark Thomas (ph), all the county chairs and other elected officials.
And thank you to all of my downstate friends, Andy Spano (ph) and the county chairs and all the elected officials, and particularly my friends right here in New York City, the citywide officials, the borough presidents, the City Council members. And two great friends, former Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins.
WOODRUFF: ... Hillary Rodham Clinton having made history by being the first first lady elected to major office, the United States Senate. Let's take a look now at the numbers, 66 percent of the precincts reporting, and I didn't call out the numbers.
GREENFIELD: This is the key, I think, one of the keys, Judy, that in the presidential race, Al Gore is running even now a million votes ahead of George Bush. She was running about half a million votes ahead of Rick Lazio.
WOODRUFF: Sixty percent there for Gore and 35 percent for Bush. I was talking and couldn't digest the numbers that we just showed in the Senate race.
SHAW: Can we see them again?
GREENFIELD: Here they are. This is the Gore...
GREENFIELD: This is the Gore-Bush race, where he's running at least a million votes ahead with two-thirds of the precincts in, and Hillary has about a margin of half a million so far. This should remind a lot of people of the last out-of-stater who came to New York and won: Robert Kennedy in 1964 who won by 750,000 votes while Lyndon Johnson was beating Barry Goldwater by more than 2 1/2 million votes.
These are two races, then and now, where coattails may have helped.
WOODRUFF: All right. There are the Senate numbers again. Again, with 68 percent of the precincts reporting, Hillary Clinton 56 percent of the vote to Lazio's 44. As Jeff said, it's about a 500,000-vote margin for the first lady.
SCHNEIDER: Which subjects that not only did she choose a good state to run in, because New York has 2 million more Democrats registered than Republicans, but she chose a good year to run. In a presidential year, where a candidate like Al Gore can pile up a big majority, she does have coattails to ride. If this weren't a presidential year, she might have had a much tougher time winning New York.
WOODRUFF: But that's a pretty significant -- and that's a pretty significant margin. I mean, who knows whether it will hold, but this is two-thirds of the precincts reporting and she's got a 12 percentage point margin.
SHAW: Money, money, money, more than $21 million spent.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
GREENFIELD: Yes, but barely -- that's about a third as much as was spent by one candidate in New Jersey. Often New Jersey said to have an inferiority complex: When it comes to spending money in a U.S. Senate race, boy, New Jersey can hold its head up high and say to New York, you guys are minor leaguers compared to what we did.
SHAW: That's Jon Corzine.
SCHNEIDER: Jon Corzine, because New Jersey has two of the most expensive media markets in the country. To run in New Jersey, you have to advertise in New York and you have to advertise in Philadelphia, and those are expensive markets. And Jon Corzine spent about $60 million, more than any candidate in history, to win that Senate seat.
GREENFIELD: We should repeat a news item that we reported several hours ago. Libby Pataki, the wife of the governor, went on radio earlier today...
SHAW: Let me interrupt you, Jeff.
SHAW: CNN is going to make a call in the Southwest, an important call. Colorado has been won by Governor Bush. Governor Bush taking Colorado's eight electoral votes. Please continue.
WOODRUFF: So by -- let's see the tally -- the total then is 225 George W. Bush to 231. Who said this wasn't going to be a close -- a close election? It is a close election.
SCHNEIDER: Colorado is a state that switched from Clinton in 1992 to Dole in 1996. So it could have gone either way, and it looks like it stuck with the Republicans, as it did with Bob Dole.
GREENFIELD: And those people who were saying a week ago we would be waiting for Wisconsin, waiting for Iowa, waiting for Florida, waiting for Arkansas, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and they're right.
WOODRUFF: And we have to keep looking, I think, at the Nader numbers. You know, Colorado was -- is not one the states that Nader was presumed to be a threat in, but those states that are still in yellow -- Arizona, Oregon, Washington...
SCHNEIDER: Wisconsin, .
WOODRUFF: Skip over to Wisconsin.
SHAW: Here's a list here.
WOODRUFF: Here's the list. Ralph Nader is a factor not in every single one, but in -- but in several of them.
GREENFIELD: At least four.
WOODRUFF: At least four. GREENFIELD: In Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Iowa. And Maine, for that one electoral vote. But these are states where Nader may make a difference. So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the year 2000, where the presidency of the United States will be decided by states it's fair to say many of whom have not had this kind of power in past presidential elections.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, and even Alaska, which hasn't been declared -- hasn't even closed its polls yet. It's the last state that hasn't closed.
GREENFIELD: But which we can fairly well expect to go Republican, since it always goes Republican.
WOODRUFF: And that's -- what? -- four electoral votes in Alaska.
SCHNEIDER: No, just three. Just three.
SCHNEIDER: Big state, not many people.
SHAW: One of the leaders of Congress watching all that's happening very, very closely is the man from Mississippi, the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott. When we come back, we're going to sit down and talk with him, or he'll sit down and talk with us. And we'll take a look at the balance of power beneath this great majestic dome, the United States Capitol Building, as CNN's live coverage of election 2000 returns in a moment.
WOODRUFF: We're watching the presidential race. We're also watching a number of Senate, House and governor races, very important. Let's go right to our balance of power man tonight, Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: Judy, a very close race in Washington state right now, the incumbent senator, the Republican, Slade Gorton, and the former congresswoman, Maria Cantwell, too close to call. That race we're going to be counting votes on to see who wins.
Let's take a look at the balance of the power in the Senate as of this minute. What we know, there were 35 Republican holdovers, 31 Democratic holdovers. The Republicans so far tonight have won 14 states, the Democrats have won 15 states. That brings the total, the Republican total right now, 49 Republicans senators, 46 Democratic senators, five still undecided. Those undecideds being Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, and Washington state.
Stuart Rothenberg, so far one pickup for the Democrats tonight.
ROTHENBERG: Well, a lot of the close contests are still out there, Wolf, but the Democrats have to go five for five, and four of them would be takeovers. So, that's awfully difficult.
And our viewers might be wondering about the presidential level in the Senate. As you know -- as we noted, Missouri went for Governor Bush at the president level, but John Ashcroft is trailing him slightly. And Michigan, of course, has gone for Al Gore. Spencer Abraham is actually drawing a few more votes than George Bush did in that state.
BLITZER: All right. We'll be watching those five states, and now back to Bernie on the national desk.
SHAW: And Wolf, right up to Washington, the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott. Mr. Lott, you're in Jackson, Mississippi. Let's put you in your home state.
Trent Lott, you just heard Stu Rothenberg say that tonight the Democrats will have to go up five for five to snatch control of that senior body from your party. How do you see it going down? Tomorrow morning, will you wake up still in control of the United States Senate?
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I certainly hope so, Bernie, and it looks like we will be able to hold a majority. Of course, we've got to watch those late races. And several of them may still be close. But if they have to sweep basically all of the seats that are left, I hope that that's not going to be likely.
It's hard to tell right now whether we'll have a net pickup of one or a net loss of two, but I believe that we will still be in the majority. And, certainly, I hope so. I appreciate the people of Mississippi reelecting me to the Senate, so I hope that we're working with the majority when we get there.
SHAW: You never had any doubt about your reelection, did you?
LOTT: Well, you never take it for granted. And I had not one but four opponents, and so anytime you've got four, you have to watch it.
SHAW: Any senate races giving you a little heartburn or a lot of heartburn at this hour?
LOTT: Well, I'm excited about a couple of them. I'm excited about George Allen, the former governor in Virginia, winning, and former Congressman John Insun (ph) there in Nevada. Of course, I've been, you know, very concerned about the situation in Missouri. It's just such a difficult set of circumstances for people to deal with, on both sides of the -- both parties.
SHAW: Let me interrupt you. A federal judge ruled that the polls in St. Louis could stay open until 10, their time. They closed about 21 minutes ago. Is that what you're alluding to? Because Kit Bond was just -- he was just furious that the Democrats in St. Louis could pull this off, as he indicated.
LOTT: Yes. Well, that did seem like an unusual set of circumstances, that they would come in at the last minute and keep polls open longer and only in that one place but not in the rest of the state. I understood that it had gone -- first, that they were going to be open. Then they couldn't be open. But it just tells you little bit of something about what's been happening in Missouri.
But John Ashcroft -- John is a great guy, and I hope he wins. He's been a good senator, and he also is a part of our Singing Senators quartet. We need him.
SHAW: Senator, let me interrupt you for a moment.
CNN is declaring another race in Nevada. Governor Bush wins four more electoral votes. He picks up Nevada's four electoral votes. And this is the tally as it stands now. Can it get any closer? Vice President Gore with 230 electoral votes, Governor Bush with 229 electoral votes.
Trent Lott, you are one of the masterful vote counters in the United States Senate. How do you see this breaking down, say, over the next hour?
LOTT: Well, looking at the maps that are still, I guess, yellow on your national map -- the ones that haven't been clearly decided -- I have the impression Arkansas will go for Bush. I still believe Florida will go for Bush. I'm hoping and thinking maybe Iowa will go for Bush. Plus, I believe you still have a couple other states out west, maybe Oregon, that might go for Bush. So, it looks like it's still going to be very close, and I'm used to counting votes in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, but I haven't counted them in electoral colleges.
SHAW: What do you make of Wisconsin? Arizona?
LOTT: Well, what did you call there?
SHAW: We've not called it. We've not called -- this is what we've not called: we've not called Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Maine -- just called Nevada, pardon me -- Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin. There's one electoral vote, of course, in Maine. And Alaska closes in less than 45 minutes.
LOTT: Well, and Alaska certainly will be for Bush, and I believe the first five you named there will probably all go for Bush. Wisconsin looks like we have a good chance there. You've got an outstanding governor, Tommy Thompson. Governor Bush had been looking pretty good there, but that's a state that Republicans don't always win, as you know, on a national level.
LOTT: And I think it'll be a great victory.
GREENFIELD: Senator, it's Jeff Greenfield. You're looking at a popular vote that is almost dead even. You're looking at an electoral vote that is almost dead even. People always wonder when a race is this close, when a country, in effect, really, is tied, what sort of mandate can a new president have when he wins -- whichever one of these fellows wins -- by such a small percentage?
LOTT: Well, I don't know that you would have a sweeping mandate, but I think that the attitude of the American people is we will come together behind the winner.
Obviously, I hope that it's George W. Bush. I believe he will bring a new atmosphere and a new approach to how we do business there. But even if it's not Governor Bush, if it's Vice President Gore, he'll be a new man, and there will be a spirit of effort to cooperate, try to get things done for the best interests of our country.
So, while you may not have a sweeping mandate, it's going to be different in Washington. It's going to be different without Clinton in the presidency.
WOODRUFF: Senator, have you thought -- it's Judy Woodruff -- have you thought about the possibility of a tie in the electoral vote? We realize that the odds are against it, but have you and some of your colleagues talked about that?
LOTT: Actually, we have not talked about it. I had seen some speculation about that in the media, the idea that I guess there could be a tie of 269 to 269. I don't believe that's going to happen. I still believe that Governor Bush will wind up getting somewhere in the range of 285 to 295, something like that.
SHAW: Trent Lott, explain to us the credibility that Governor Bush would have if he is elected tonight, coming to Washington having run as an outsider?
LOTT: Well, actually...
LOTT: Well, that's happened many times before. That was true with Jimmy Carter, that was true with Ronald Reagan, that was true with Bill Clinton, and it'll be true with George W. Bush.
But he'll bring a new atmosphere. I think he is going to try to bring us together. It'll be incumbent upon people like myself to work with him and to make sure that he understands how the Senate does business, and that we understand what he really wants to achieve.
I think we need to reach out to the Democrats and say, "What can we do together for our country?" I mean, Medicare reform, we need it, we know that we need it, we've got to provide prescription drugs for our seniors that can't afford it. Let's quit trying to see what we can disagree on and let's see if we can find two or three really big things -- Churchill would want us to do that. He would say, "Find a few big things and focus on that."
You know, we've got a lot to be proud of. The economy's good. We don't have a war right now in the world. We have balanced the budget. We are reducing the debt. We have cut taxes some, but we need to do more in that area.
So we need to take that next step, to deal with Social Security and Medicare reform, do some repairs to our defense that has been damaged by the last few years of the Clinton-Gore administration. And we need to do more in returning some of the tax dollars to working Americans. If we could just do those four big things, I think that would be really good for the country -- and continue to pay down the debt and balance the budget.
GREENFIELD: Speaking of reforms, given what still might happen tonight, do you think it is time, really, now, to look at the Electoral College and do something about that? Or are you content with this system?
LOTT: Well, we've talked about doing that in the past. I remember when I was in the House of Representatives years ago, probably in the '70s, we thought about it. There have been some scholars that have talked about how we maybe need to change that, but the person that wins with the Electoral College vote will probably say, "This system works pretty well."
Our forefathers did a pretty good job. And while I, you know, have difficulty, explaining even to my own wife why you could win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College vote and how that wouldn't be fair, I think the system still works pretty well. It has over these -- over 200 years. And before we change it, I think we'd need to be real careful and think about it long and hard.
But I don't put it outside the realm of possibilities. I think you always need to ask yourself, "Is this the best we can do? Or should we consider changing it?"
WOODRUFF: All right. Senator Trent Lott, the Republican leader of the United States Senate, we thank you very much for joining us from your home.
LOTT: The majority leader, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Did I say minority?
SHAW: No, you said Republican.
LOTT: No, you said Republican leader.
WOODRUFF: Republican leader, I'm sorry.
LOTT: I still like majority.
WOODRUFF: All right, we'll call you majority. There's no reason not to call you that. Both the Republican leader and the majority leader, Trent Lott. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate that.
GREENFIELD: Bipartisanship already.
WOODRUFF: Absolutely. We are keeping an eye as we go to a break on so many states that we just don't have a call yet on. And we're going to talk some more about that when we come back.
WOODRUFF: Just after 11:30 on the East Coast, the polls have closed in every state but one, and that is Alaska. We want to show you some important states that we are not able to call yet. The raw vote totals, 74 percent of the precincts reporting in the state of Florida. George W. Bush with 51 percent of the vote, a little over two million. Al Gore with 47 percent, 1.9 million. Another state that is still out there, too close to call, Wisconsin, 47 percent of the precincts reporting and look at that, a tie, 48 percent to 48 percent. And yet another state we are not able to call, Iowa, with 63 percent of the precincts reporting, Al Gore leading 50 percent to 47 percent for George W. Bush.
Hal Bruno is taking a closer look at some of these states tonight. Hal what about Iowa? Put your spyglass there on the state of Iowa and tell us what's going on on the ground.
BRUNO: Well, with almost two thirds of the vote in, it is surprisingly close. And the reason for it is George Bush is doing better than anyone expected he would be doing in Des Moines, which should be the Democratic stronghold. Bush is doing very well out here in the west. That is expected from a Republican. Al Gore is doing fine out here in the east, which is expected of a Democrat. And Al Gore is doing OK in the central part, but George Bush is doing better than expected. That is what is making Iowa so close.
Now, you go out to the state of Washington and you get the reverse type of thing happening. In Washington, Al Gore is doing very well not only in the Seattle area, where you expect him to, but George Bush is not doing as strong as he should in the east, which is like the Midwest in terms of the lifestyle and agriculture and so on. That should be strong Republican territory. Bush is winning it, but not as much as he should. And Gore is doing very well over here in the east coast, along through the Olympic Mountains.
Now, going to Oregon, now, one more thing about Washington before we leave it. Don't forget, half the ballots there are coming in by mail, so we don't know what's going to happen with those. All right, going to Oregon. Oregon, again, is all mail. They're just starting to count now.
BRUNO: All right, that's right, postage. Anyhow, Al Gore is doing very well in the Portland suburbs, which is exactly what a Democrat is supposed to do. And George Bush is doing very good out here in the south and the east, which a Republican is supposed to do. But what we don't know is this area here, along the coast, and we don't know at this point, what the Nader factor is going to be. Oregon could be Ralph Nader's strongest state.
WOODRUFF: And again, that is, Hal, not based on exit polls because there were no voters to poll. They didn't go to the polling places today. As you just said, they mailed in all their ballots or they dropped them off at selected points around the state of Oregon today.
BRUNO: The important thing about Oregon is that they count those ballots immediately. And they have to be in by today, whereas in the state of Washington, they merely have to be postmarked by midnight today.
WOODRUFF: And how long could it be, Hal, before we know the results, the final result from the state of Washington?
BRUNO: That is our nightmare scenario that we discussed. It could be days. There was one election there where somebody won a Congressional seat, went to Washington, they had to call him back three or four days later to tell him he had lost.
SHAW: Hal Bruno, thank you.
In Washington, Mary Matalin, Mike McCurry, it is 11:35 Eastern time and it occurs to me that we began this broadcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, saying turnout, turnout, turnout -- Mike.
MCCURRY: You know, usually by this time on election night, I have been crying in my beer somewhere because the Democrats have lost. But, this really is a cliffhanger. I'll tell you one thing, all the speculation about Ralph Nader and his impact is coming home to roost now. If it comes down to Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, those states that probably should be safely in Al Gore's column, if they are not, the large part of the reason may be because people have voted for Ralph Nader. And, in my editorial comment, thrown their vote away in a sense.
But if that is not the case, then, really, the story is going to be turnout, turnout, turnout. And Al Gore's campaign has worked very, very hard these last 72 hours. I sensed, in fact, that in a way, Governor Bush's campaign was coasting to the finish line. They took a day off last Sunday. They acted like they had it in the bag. They put out a schedule for tomorrow that had the president-elect schedule. And I think they took a lot for granted. The Gore people out-hustled them a lot of places. That is why we have a much closer election.
MATALIN: Well, of course, the Bush campaign took nothing for granted and the schedule they put out tomorrow was a boost to the staff. Look, this, anyone have who questions the hustle of the Bush campaign, or, in particular, the strategy of spreading their resources over so many Democratic states, which had been questioned, can now consider the genius of Karl Rove. If it wasn't for our picking up the Republicans and Bush picking up so many of these Democratic states, he would not be ahead right now. Still, suggesting that and they've been confident all night long that Florida was going to remain in their column.
So, this is, from the beginning, a very long, marathon effort, as Governor Bush said. And the most superior ground game ever envisioned and executed on in the Republican party.
And, you know, let me say something about Nader. This is what the Republicans said about Ross Perot when he kicked our hiney all over the place. Nader exists as a weakness of the Gore candidacy as a segment, a very deep segment of the Democratic Party that hasn't been addressed in the Clinton administration. And ironically, Gore moved to the left to try to meet the demands of that segment, but turned off, it looks like, some independent voters.
MCCURRY: That is not true. Nader exists as a figment of someone's imagination that somehow or another there was not a difference between Gore and Bush. There were very serious differences about how either of these candidates would populate a federal government, the kinds of policies they would pursue and if anything, we didn't spend enough time talking about the substantive differences between these candidates, which would, I think, make a big, big difference, in the way some of those Nader voters reacted with their votes today.
MATALIN: You know you can't -- the candidates talked endlessly ceaselessly every day about their differences. And Bush made it very clear, and this is one of his winning arguments, that Gore was for expanding government. He made that argument and it pushed him ahead after the debates. And after the debates, and Gore made his argument every day that we want to have -- they used to say a chicken in every pot -- we want a program for every person. So the distinctions were clear. I don't know what Mike is talking about.
MCCURRY: Well, the distinctions weren't clear to those Nader voters that I think may have helped elect George Bush if that is the way it comes out at he end of the day. Now hopefully that ground war that's still underway out West will make a difference for the vice president.
SHAW: Well, on that ground war, tactically, obviously, both you people are biting fingernails along with people in the campaigns in Austin and Nashville.
What do you say has to happen, for each of your men to win?
MATALIN: Well, since I got a manicure today I haven't been biting my fingernails.
MCCURRY: They've got to get more votes.
MATALIN: They have to -- look, you know what this -- what I love about this is -- it is -- this is the oldest fashioned thing in politics: all is the fancy media, record-breaking expenditures on paid media. It gets down to what we used to do 25, 30 years ago, call up people and say, did you vote yet? I'm coming by to pick you up. You will vote. It's good old-fashioned politics that says to people out there, your vote counts, every vote counts. I think this is very, very healthy for the electorate. It really could help diminish the cynicism about that political process.
MCCURRY: And I hope it really does demonstrate maybe at the end of the day the turnout has gone up somewhat, too. I agree with Mary this is going to be an election that reminds everyone of how important that constitutional responsibility of voting is all about. WOODRUFF: Mary, just a quick question, as I hear you talking about Ralph Nader, you know, so often, we heard George W. Bush and the people around him say that Al Gore was the epitome of big spending, liberal, and so forth. And, yet, is there some contradiction when Ralph Nader is there, to the left of Al Gore?
MATALIN: Well, I guess the -- it points out what we Republicans have often said about the Democratic Party. You can never get too big, and I'm really predicting, whatever happens with Al Gore, Nader's presence, and particularly if it's clear that he's made impact on this election, will nudge the party even further left. This is -- promises to be as exciting a post campaign debate as the whole campaign was.
SHAW: Well, on that point, Nader said a short while ago, Larry King interviewed him earlier, shortly past 10:00 -- this week, we become a viable watchdog party. But a question. A point you were making earlier, Mary, Ralph Nader has set a pox on both your houses. He doesn't think Gore or Bush cuts the mustard.
MATALIN: Well, their -- that was, I believe, a cynical strategy of his. Clearly there were huge differences and in the end, he was saying, he sort of got in cahoots with Gephardt the other Democratic leaders to say vote for Democratic congressmen and senators.
He knows there's a huge difference between them but, he was appealing to that kind of Ventura, that maverick, that independent voter who really does have a cynical view about politics. In general very cynical on the behalf of Ralph Nader. He knows there is a huge difference.
MCCCURRY: I would just remind everyone that voted for Ralph Nader over next four years they have to watch George Bush appoint people in the Supreme Court and to all of the sub-cabinet positions, all of those positions in OSHA, and EPA and regulatory agencies that really count in our system of government. They watched how those positions are filled versus how Al Gore would have filled them and they'll know how they spent their vote this election night.
MATALIN: You know, I think a lot of people voted for Bush because of the what he is going to bring into government, those people that he brought with him on campaign trail, notably Colin Powell who will be typical kind of appoint in the Bush administration.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mary Matalin, Mike McCurry. We've seen you, several times. We're going to see you several times more before this night is over. It is, what, 22 minutes -- no. 18 minutes before the bewitching hour of midnight, Eastern time, and, we're still counting. There are still seven states and Jeff Greenfield has his hand in front of my face, so he wants to say something -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: I'm sorry to be so impolite, but you know, I just want to point out something a little ahead of time, thanks to our staff. If Al Gore picks up Iowa, and the one electoral vote in -- in Maine and Florida.
WOODRUFF: Which I was about to say that we are giving Al Gore, and I will formally announce, CNN announces, as we described earlier, Maine is one of the two states that can split its electoral vote by Congressional district. We're now prepared to say that Al Gore has all four of Maine's electoral votes. As you can see total there is 231, Gore...
SHAW: Is this total correct? Should it be 232?
WOODRUFF: This is the -- or should it be 232. It was 231.
SHAW: Right, 232 now.
GREENFIELD: Here's the point, folks.
WOODRUFF: I stand corrected. I'm told that the 231 is correct? And just at 229, is Governor Bush and Jeff, keep talking.
GREENFIELD: And if Al Gore wins Iowa and Al Gore wins Florida, and George Bush wins Arkansas and Alaska, we have an electoral tie 269- 269, no one with an electoral majority, and either they find an elector to defect or it goes to House of Representatives.
WOODRUFF: There were more than 70 mathematical possibilities if that could happen, I was told, and we may be facing one of them.
SCHNEIDER: Right, a couple people have asked me can George Bush still win without Florida and the answer is yes, he can. He's at 229 electoral votes right now, and there are still 54, I think, without Maine, 53 electoral votes out. He needs 41 more to get 270. So he could win without carrying Florida, but you have to carry just about all of the rest of those states, 41 out the 53 electoral votes, in the remaining states to do it.
GREENFIELD: This depends on a split that doesn't -- is mathematically tricky because Oregon and Washington, I believe, have to also fall into Bush's column, but we are looking at a race that is so close, so late, that all of the pre-election predictions in this sense, in this sense, were accurate which is to say it was unpredictable.
SCHNEIDER: That is right.
WOODRUFF: Fascinating stuff, fascinating stuff, and if it is a tie, boy, are we going to have a good time talking about that.
SCHNEIDER: There'll be a hunt for electors. Each side will looking for electors, because look, you know, in December the electors meet in their respective state capitals to vote. So each side will claim moral a moral victory if they edged out the other in popular votes and they'll try to get an elector to defect to the winning side popular vote.
WOODRUFF: They won't let it stay a tie, is what you're saying.
SCHNEIDER: They're going to try not to let it stay a tie because they're going to say, morally the person who got most votes from the people should win. They're going to have to find elector who will defect. Those electors are chosen for loyalty.
WOODRUFF: But can you imagine the onus on the person who made the switch?
SHAW: Jeff, how did electors in your novel turn out?
GREENFIELD: Well, my novel wasn't quite as outrageous as what might happen with a tie. All I did was kill off the president-elect in a photo opportunity, but the fact of the matter is the basis of all of this argument is that while states can try to punish electors who defect, fines and stuff, the Congress, so far, when an elector has been faithless, has in fact said no, we're going to count the vote.
Now, it's never mattered, but there is some precedent to say if there is one of these electors -- let's say Bush wins the popular vote and one of these Gore electors says, you know, it's a tie I think I should go with the popular vote winner. He can be ostracized. He'll probably never get a Democratic Party job, but they can't stop him from casting a vote. And it is a Congress in January that decides whether the vote is valid. And so far it looks like it'll be Republican Congress.
WOODRUFF: I'm looking, speaking of a potential tie, I'm looking at the Republican pollster Alex Gauge, working with Fred Steeper, who predicted just this scenario about a week and a half ago, and he figured it out and it's -- it is coming to fruition almost exactly as he predicted. Of course there is still six or seven states out...
GREENFIELD: Including Florida.
WOODRUFF: .,. including Florida, which is a big one, and he had given that to Al Gore and he still had a tie.
GREENFIELD: That's how it works out, and if Bush takes Florida, you know, not only will there be a lot of exit poll people who may have a new job, but it won't happen.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, boy.
SHAW: Let me interrupt our conversation. Arizona now CNN declares goes to Governor Bush. Arizona's eight electoral votes in the governor's column.
SCHNEIDER: And that is a significant win because Arizona had voted Republican in every election from 1948 since Harry Truman. They voted for Harry Truman and then they've Republican in every election after that until they voted for Bill Clinton in 1996. And now it's gone back into the Republican column.
WOODRUFF: Home of John McCain, he represents that state in the United States Senate. And in the primary there, no surprise, John McCain beat George Bush by almost 25 points.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, actually what happened in Arizona is interesting because they have a lot of seniors who have retired and live in Arizona. It appears from our exit polling that they voted heavily for George Bush and they put him over. What carried this state for Bill Clinton in 1996 was a heavy vote among Hispanic-Americans who voted very heavily Democratic. So you had a Hispanic Democratic vote and a senior vote that was heavily Republican. It appears that the seniors have won it this time.
WOODRUFF: But what'll be interesting to find out is why it was took so long to fall into the Bush column. It'll be interesting to look at those numbers.
SCHNEIDER: OK, we do have the senior vote in Arizona. Let's take a look what exit polls showed among voters over 56 in Arizona. They were the key to the Bush victory -- 57 percent of them voted for Bush, 40 percent for Gore.
Now remember that the Social Security issue, the Medicare issue, the prescription drugs issue was supposed to pay off handsomely for Al Gore among seniors. It certainly didn't work that way in Arizona because the seniors in Arizona voted very strongly for George Bush and delivered that state to him. So don't take the senior vote for granted, even for the Democrats this year, Social Security issue didn't work the way a lot of people predicted.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to break. When we come back we're going to hear from or talk with, I should say, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert. We'll be back in a moment.
SHAW: The United States of America still does not have a new president at this late hour. Back and forth, nip and tuck, the governor and the vice president have traded the electoral lead. Right now, Governor Bush has gone back up on top, 237 electoral votes to Vice President Gore's 231.
This is the electoral map as it stands. This is the raw vote. With 66 percent of precincts reporting, you can see that Governor Bush has 49 percent of the vote, or roughly 34.2 million votes, to Vice President Gore's 48 percent, or 33.7 million votes.
GREENFIELD: Running is the closest since Humphrey and Nixon in 1968, Bernie.
SCHNEIDER: And if that was 66 percent of the vote, that was about 68 million votes. So it looks like we're going to have a little over 100 million voters casting ballots, just a little higher than usual but not spectacularly high.
SHAW: Wolf Blitzer, races under way in the House, what's the latest?
BLITZER: We're taking a close look at the House races. There's one net pickup we can report right now. In Long Island, Felix Grucci, the Republican beating Regina Seltzer. This was the seat that Michael Forbes lost in the Democratic primary. He's the former Republican who turned Democratic. Let's take a look at what we can report on the balance of power in the House of Representatives right now. Very, very close so far, if you take a look at all the numbers, the still undecided. and there's still about -- only about three-fourths of the seats have been determined right now. So far, we can say the Republicans have a net gain of two seats.
We're still waiting, Stuart Rothenberg, for some seats out on the West Coast, though.
ROTHENBERG: Not just the West Coast, Wolf. We've got two squeakers in Jersey, one in West Virginia, one in Scranton, one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Heather Wilson is in trouble. All across the country, we've got a lot of close ones.
BLITZER: We're going to be watching all those races.
Right now, back to the national desk.
WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf Blitzer, Stu Rothenberg.
Joining us from Aurora, Illinois, his home town, the speaker of U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for being with us,
As you hear this analysis from Stu and Wolf, what's your reaction? Republicans two up net at this point, but we're still waiting for some important races to come in.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, we're cautiously optimistic. We have been able to defend our seats in Kentucky and North Carolina that we thought that we may have a challenge. We have an interesting race in Connecticut that we may pick up a seat that we didn't expect.
And you know, we have to go in. I think we're doing as well as we can expect. It's going to be a long night. We have to see what happens in California, obviously. But I feel good about the position that we're in.
WOODRUFF: When do you think you'll have a sense of what the new House is going to look like?
HASTERT: Well, it might be early tomorrow morning before we really know what the new House looks like?
WOODRUFF: How early or how late I should say?
HASTERT: I wish I'd know. I guess we're all looking into that crystal ball. It probably won't be much before we determine who the new president is going to be.
WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of that, we're looking at a very close race. Are you surprised, Mr. Speaker, that we're looking at a race with -- what? -- 49 percent to 48 percent of the popular vote, and just a few -- what is it? -- 231 Gore to 237 Bush in the electoral vote at this point?
HASTERT: Well, we just figured this was going to be a tough race. We knew it was going to be close. We figured it was going to be close in the House, it was going to be close in the Senate, it's going to be close in the presidency. Nobody, obviously, in this election period was running away with it, but we've tried to get our themes out there, talking about balancing the budget, paying down debt, and better education for our kids. And they've been pretty well united thematically, and I think that appeals to people.
WOODRUFF: No matter what happens from here on out, it's clear that this country is divided in a big way in terms of its view not only of the man it wants to lead the country for the next four years, but in terms of philosophy. That being the case, how can the House of Representatives and the Senate do business with a president when the mandate seems to be so split here?
HASTERT: Well, you know, that's why we need both in the House of Representatives and the Senate and in the presidency to try to bring people together. You know, the important issues -- education, health care -- are things that shouldn't be partisan. They ought to be bipartisan. And we need to be able to bring our arms together and get those things done.
You know, 90 percent of the issues in health care, people agree on. We ought to be able to split difference in the other 3 percent and get it done.
WOODRUFF: Mr. Speaker, when you say it needs to be bipartisan, are you saying that all the fault lies with the other party here?
HASTERT: I meant -- I wasn't pointing the finger at anybody tonight. It was pretty evident in the House of Representatives this year that the strategy of the Democrats is to try to block everything so that they could run against a do-nothing Congress. We didn't let that happen. But it was awful tough to get anything done when that was strategy.
WOODRUFF: All right, House Speaker Dennis Hastert joining us from his home town of Aurora, Illinois. We want to thank you very much for being with us and we look forward to...
HASTERT: Been my pleasure.
WOODRUFF: ... talking with you very soon again, once we know more about what the outcome of the House of Representatives will be.
We are going to take a break, and we'll be right back with much more coverage in about 2 1/2 minutes. The last state, the polls close in the state of Alaska, and we'll be back in a moment and with that call.
ANNOUNCER: From CNN Center in Atlanta, coverage of Election 2000 continues. Here again, Judy Woodruff, Bernard Shaw, Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.
WOODRUFF: Twelve o'clock in the East Coast of the United States and we are able to make a call in the last state to close its polls tonight, Alaska, the land of the midnight sun, goes to George W. Bush. It's three electoral votes, no real surprise at all here. This state has only voted for a Democratic candidate once since it became a state in the year 1959.
So, here's the total: George W. Bush, 240 electoral votes, his are the red states on that map. They are from East almost all the way to the West. Al Gore, 231 electoral votes, the states in blue, counting California and going all the way over to the state of Maine. It is a close, close, close election.
SCHNEIDER: Six states left, one of those will put somebody over the top. We don't know who it's going to be. It's amazing.
WOODRUFF: This is the raw vote total at this hour with two- thirds of the precincts across the United States reporting. Look at that: 49 percent going for George W. Bush, 35.1 million to 34.57 million. What is that, about 500,000 votes?
GREENFIELD: Seventy million votes cast, half a million votes separate them.
WOODRUFF: Let's see now, when was the last time?
GREENFIELD: Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon, Nixon took a half-a-million vote win. Before that, you have got to go to Kennedy, Nixon. But this is the closest race in 32 years. And who knows? It could get closer.
WOODRUFF: These are the states that are going to decide it. Let's take a look. There are six of them that we are not able to call: Arkansas, six electoral votes, Florida, the big Magilla at this point, 25, Iowa, seven, Oregon, seven, Washington and Wisconsin each carrying 11 electoral votes. There are 67 electoral votes up for grabs.
GREENFIELD: And Judy, four of those states were carried by Michael Dukakis in 1988, one of the weaker Democratic presidential candidates in modern times. And Al Gore has not yet been able to put away four of the Dukakis states. We've been looking at that all Fall long. It looks like it may be pivotal.
SHAW: Why are the many reasons -- that's precisely the question of the hour.
GREENFIELD: Here's why: a man named Ralph Nader. Ralph Nader is doing very well in Oregon -- not very well -- but he's doing enough votes. Those states are so close between Gore and Bush, that the Nader vote, which isn't particularly high, has the balance of power between the two.
WOODRUFF: I wonder, are we able to look at the raw vote totals in some of these states showing the Nader factor? I'm asking our folks who have control over the graphics that we're looking at. Are we able to see, for example, in Washington, in Wisconsin, what kind of Nader numbers are there?
SHAW: In time, Judy, in time.
GREENFIELD: But it does indicate...
WOODRUFF: In good time, I'm told, that will happen.
GREENFIELD: Remember we did point to the Nader factor as one of the seven keys to the presidency. And it looks like we are coming down to the fact that that question, the answer to the question of how big the Nader factor was in some of these states may determine who the next president of the United States is. He doesn't look like he's going to get his $7 million, but may affect the outcome of this entire election.
SHAW: Let's discuss for a moment why there is a Nader factor.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, and we think we have some evidence to this point from the state of Oregon, where Nader is getting four percent. We asked the Nader voters how would they have voted in a choice between Gore and Bush. Sixty-one percent of the Oregon Nader voters said they would have voted for Al Gore. Only 10 percent for George Bush and a quarter of them say they wouldn't have voted at all. That is why the Gore people worried about Ralph Nader. By 6-1 his votes would have come from Al Gore, not George Bush. Right now, Oregon, the votes between Gore and Bush are nose to nose. They are very, very close. The Nader voters would have made the difference for Al Gore and he would have carried Oregon, most likely, if Ralph Nader hadn't been on the ballot.
SHAW: And his argument during his campaign was that there is no difference, per se, between the Democrats and Republicans. They are dominated by lobbyists and big corporations and they are not to be trusted.
GREENFIELD: That's right, if you vote for a third party candidate like Ralph Nader, you honestly have to believe that it doesn't make any difference which candidate wins, Gore or Bush, they are no different on the issues that are important to you. And the Gore people trotted out a whole lot of reputable liberals like Robert Redford and Al Franken and Gloria Steinem to say, yes, it makes a tremendous difference, abortion issues, Supreme Court. But apparently there are enough Nader voters remaining who simply agreed with Ralph Nader. It doesn't make a difference.
WOODRUFF: And that vote swapping that we talked about a little bit earlier going on on the Internet across the country, Web sites, where you could go into the Web site and arrange, presumably, to trade your vote. If you were in a state where voting for Ralph Nader could hurt Al Gore, and you didn't want to do that.
We are now able to say the state of Arkansas is in George W. Bush's corner. The home state of President Bill Clinton and its six electoral votes fall to George W. Bush, giving the Texas governor an electoral vote total of 246, putting him only 24 votes away from becoming the next president of the United States.
SCHNEIDER: And Florida has 25. With the state of Florida, if it went to George Bush, he would be the winner.
WOODRUFF: Or some combination of these other states that we're looking at: Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon. Let's look at that list again. We were just able to take Arkansas off. We are left with Washington and Wisconsin, 11 each, Oregon, 7, Iowa, 7, Florida, 25.
SCHNEIDER: Don't tell me this isn't exciting.
GREENFIELD: Notice, though, that one of the ways George Bush is inching closer to what he needs is by winning the home states of Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: Well, let's talk about which states on the list Al -- or rather, George W. Bush is most likely to pick up. We know he's still very much in the running in all of these states. Washington is a state that Al Gore was given a better shot at going in, and I think the raw vote numbers showed that holding up.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, Washington has voted Democratic, actually, the last three elections, like Oregon, including Michael Dukakis. But, of course, we mentioned the Nader factor. You know, Sam Rayburn used to talk about the 49 states and the soviet of Washington because it was considered a very left-wing state. It had a lot of union voters, and if the unions are needed anywhere for Al Gore, they are needed -- they were needed, the polls are closed -- in the state of Washington.
SHAW: If you are just joining CNN's live coverage of Election 2000 in the United States, wherever you are watching from in the world, if you are trying to figure out what is this, these five states with the total 61 at the bottom, those are the only number of electoral votes still outstanding, still at stake. It is very tight between Governor Bush of Texas -- he has 246 electoral votes -- Vice President Gore has 231. So, this is the 61.
WOODRUFF: Close, close, close.
SCHNEIDER: And if Jeb Bush had delivered the state of Florida to his brother he would be president now.
WOODRUFF: Well, he may yet do that.
SCHNEIDER: He may.
WOODRUFF: Still much to talk about tonight. Let's go to our two reporters who have been covering, spending the most time with the Gore and Bush campaigns over the last year or so. John King in Nashville, Tennessee, Candy Crowley in Austin, Texas.
John, as you and the people around Vice President Gore listen to this talk about these states where Ralph Nader is a factor, what are they saying?
KING: Well, certainly, they believe Ralph Nader has been a factor, Judy. They do believe they will win Washington and Oregon. But as the vice president watches the results in his hotel room right now, we're told he keeps getting updates from campaign chairman Bill Daley. This mathematical fact, unless he wins the state of Florida, if our projections hold up, he cannot win the White House. As we just gave Arkansas to Governor Bush, Al Gore can now not get to 270 unless he wins the state of Florida. Now, we're told he's being told by chairman Daley and others that they believe Florida can turn around. Governor Bush still leads right now. They're saying the remaining precincts out are in largely Democratic precincts but that could be wishful thinking there on the Gore campaign's part. But they must now pull out Florida.
Let me give you a quick example of the roller coaster emotions here. Joe Andrew is the national chairman of the Democratic Party. He came out here a short time ago and said he was confident of a Gore victory, confident they would win Florida. Ed Rendell, though, the former Philadelphia mayor and the general chairman of the Democratic Party already pointing fingers at the Gore campaign. He says they should not have pulled their advertising money out of Ohio. And he says they should have made greater use of President Clinton on the campaign trail, especially in Arkansas, the state we just gave to Governor Bush. Ed Rendell saying they only let the president go there one day. They should have sent him down there for three days or for perhaps an entire week.
Back to you.
WOODRUFF: You do get the sense the recriminations are already beginning even though we don't know the outcome yet. This is going to be a very painful night for the person who loses.
We are calling the state of Washington for Al Gore and its 11 electoral votes. We just heard John King say the Gore campaign expected to win the state of Washington. And we are at CNN now able to give those electoral votes to the vice president based on our examination of exit polling and the key precincts.
Now, here's the total: George W. Bush, 246, Al Gore, 242. You just heard John King say the Gore people now believe that there is no mathematically statistically possible way that Al Gore can get to 270 without the state of Florida. Unless one of the states that have already been called for George W. Bush is taken back.
GREENFIELD: If Al Gore were to win Oregon, Wisconsin and Iowa, and Florida went to Bush, Bush would win the White House 271 to 267.
GREENFIELD: You think it can be closer than that?
SHAW: Why don't we go to Hal Bruno and find out. Take us into the voting...
GREENFIELD: In Florida.
WOODRUFF: In Florida. SHAW: ... in Florida, especially in Florida. Well, we can go to Hal...
WOODRUFF: Just to talk about it.
SHAW: We're coming to you now, Hal. Take us into the voting, and tell us what is going on in this Sunshine State.
BRUNO: Well what's going on in the Sunshine State is the closest election anybody has ever seen. The two-thirds of the vote that's outstanding is right here on the Gold Coast. And that is the Democratic stronghold. Two-thirds of the outstanding vote in Florida is in the Democratic stronghold.
Over here in Tampa Bay, which is the swing factor, they're running dead even with each other, Bush and Gore.
WOODRUFF: But, Hal Bruno, we did hear Karl Rove say within the last hour or so that the results that he was getting back from that part of the state, particularly the Gold Coast, gave him reason believe to that they were going to take Florida.
BRUNO: Well, he may feel that way -- and who's to say he's wrong? Because nobody knows at this point. But that was an hour ago, Judy. And the way the count is going there, it's so close that it literally is changing every few minutes.
SHAW: So, Hal, you're saying two-thirds of the outstanding vote in the Democratic stronghold stretches from South Miami, Miami Dade County...
BRUNO: From North Miami, from North Miami up to Fort Lauderdale, up to West Palm Beach. And Broward County is about 15 percent what is outstanding, just Broward County alone. And that is the stronghold within the stronghold.
WOODRUFF: And, Hal, you're saying simply that those votes have not been counted yet.
BRUNO: That's right. And when it comes down to this is, Florida could go either way at this point. We don't know who's going to win Florida.
WOODRUFF: Right now, our vote total, with 86 percent of the precincts reporting, George W. Bush has 50 percent, a little over 2.3 million votes.
GREENFIELD: It's a 100,000 vote lead, for those of us who like numbers uncooked, raw. And I think, Hal Bruno could -- no, he said it perfectly. We don't know how this number turns out, because you know where those votes are that have yet to be counted.
SHAW: And, Hal, what about Florida? Florida still -- Florida -- Wisconsin still has 11 electoral votes, and we're not able to call that. BRUNO: Wisconsin also has gotten much closer. And Nader seems to be dropping off a bit in Wisconsin. Al Gore is doing better now in Madison, and Nader -- let me show you on my little machine here -- in this area, Madison, which is where the Democrats have to build up their strength, Ralph Nader at one point was pulling about 6, 7 percent of the vote. Now he's only pulling about 3 or 4 percent. And so that's helping Gore, he's doing much better there.
But here's the surprise. Up here in the northwest, which normally is Democratic territory, up there George Bush is doing better than anyone ever expected he would do. And the result of that is Wisconsin right now is just simply dead even, too close to call.
WOODRUFF: When you say Nader is falling off, Hal, what do you mean by that?
BRUNO: Well, at one point, Judy, he had been running about 6 percent in Wisconsin. And the last we saw, just a few minutes ago, he was down under 4 percent, closer to 3 percent. And that has to help Al Gore.
SHAW: Hal, you are a political walking fact totem, formerly ABC news political director, former "Newsweek" national correspondent covering politics. We're both from Chicago, both from Illinois. Your thoughts, what's going through your mind right now?
BRUNO: Well, Bernie, you mentioned Chicago, where we're both from, where we learned to be reporters. And you've got to go back to 1960, when the vote was very slow coming in from the West Side of Chicago. And it made the difference, and Kennedy won it.
No such thing is occurring today.
The same thing, though, happened in 1968, where the vote was slow coming not only from Chicago but also from parts of Missouri. And again, there's nothing like that happening today in those place.
I think the vote coming in slow today is simply because it's such a complicated thing. I don't think there's anything going on.
SHAW: Well, we should also mention, Hal, as we are in Florida, that -- and we should give credit where credit is due. Mary Matalin hours ago, when the networks had called this for Gore, pointed out that there was a large, huge absentee ballot vote total coming out of Florida. It now looks like we may have to go to the absentee ballots to find out who's going to win Florida and quite possibly who's going to win the white house.
BRUNO: Yes, Jeff, you're right, because the question Bernie asked going back to those previous elections, absentee voting wasn't the thing that it is today.
Today, absentee voting is very important, especially in a state like Florida. And the bad news for the Gore people is, when it comes to absentee voting, Republicans generally do better. That's been the pattern. WOODRUFF: How long does it take to count those kinds of ballot, Hal? We want to know when we're going to know.
BRUNO: We know in Washington it could take a few days, I think it Florida it probably will come a lot faster than that.
WOODRUFF: All right, we want to go to...
SHAW: We're going to Larry King in Washington, who has someone from the Gore campaign, a very particular someone -- Larry.
L. KING: Thank you, Bernie.
Our panel will resume in a little while, Ann Richards, Howard Baker and Bob Woodward.
But right now, we'll go to Nashville, Mark Fabiani, a very familiar face now on the American scene, the Gore deputy campaign manager for communications.
We have four states left. Florida appears to be the key. What do you hear, Mark?
MARK FABIANI, GORE DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It is. You said it all, Larry. Florida is the key. It looks like the candidate who wins Florida will be the next president of the United States. It's going right down to the wire, white-knuckle time here. You know, all the networks called Florida for Al Gore earlier in the evening, and we think it's going to end up with Al Gore.
As you guys just mentioned on your broadcast, two-thirds of the outstanding votes in Florida are from the Democratic strongholds in that state. When those votes start rolling in, Al Gore is going to go ahead. And the prediction that CNN and everyone else made in the evening, Florida for Al Gore, is going to come true, and Al Gore will be the next president.
L. KING: How about the large amount of absentee ballots, which was also discussed and which they also say usually go Republican?
FABIANI: I think that's an oversimplification this year. In Florida, a lot of senior citizens vote absentee, and senior citizens in Florida are especially concerned with Governor Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. So we'll hold our own with the absentee ballots this year in Florida. And with the Democratic strongholds yet to be counted in the state, we're very hopeful that by the end of the night Florida will be where it started the evening with all of your projections, right with Al Gore.
L. KING: Are you angry at anyone over those early predictions? How do you feel? How does the candidate feel?
FABIANI: Well, it's hard to be angry with people. You had every single network, people who have been projecting elections for years and years and years and doing a very good job of it, all unanimously predict Florida for Gore. And I think you guys did so for good reason. The exit polls all showed Gore well ahead by three or four points.
And the fact is that Bush is slightly ahead there now, but only because the Democratic strongholds in the state, Dade County and Broward County still haven't had their votes counted. And when those votes are counted, Gore will go back ahead and the networks will be proven to be right, belatedly, but right nonetheless, and Al Gore will win Florida.
L. KING: You will still need, though, one of the other three, will you not? Iowa, Oregon or Wisconsin?
FABIANI: I believe that's correct.
L. KING: One of the other -- Wisconsin they're reporting dead even, Oregon a little too early and Iowa dead even. So even though...
FABIANI: That's correct.
L. KING: ... you win Florida, you've still got to win one of the other three?
FABIANI: That's correct. But we feel good about our chances in the other three. Those three states, as you pointed out before, are traditionally Democratic states. And one of them will certainly break in our direction, if not more than one. It all comes down to Florida, and we're waiting anxiously for the results. And we remain very hopeful.
L. KING: As our anchors have pointed out, why do you think your candidate has not done as well in, say, Iowa and Wisconsin, two states traditionally Democratic? Why is that so close?
FABIANI: Well, I think, as you pointed out, Ralph Nader has hurt in Wisconsin. He's taken some of the votes that would normally go to the vice president. And I'm not sure about Iowa. I'd have to looked at those numbers, and I'm sure smarter people than I am will take a look at those numbers and figure that out.
But the bottom line is those states, one of those three states that you mentioned, will break in our direction. And when we win Florida that will make Al Gore the next president.
L. KING: Is there any chance you see this going into tomorrow or Thursday?
FABIANI: That's a very good question, Larry. It certainly could go into tomorrow, especially if there are a lot of absentee ballots in Florida. And I don't think you're going to be able to tell who's going to win this election until you can tell who wins Florida. So it's all in the hands of whoever it is in Florida that's counting all these votes.
Thanks very much, Mark. We'll stay close.
Let's go now to Austin, Texas...
FABIANI: Thank you, Larry. Good to see you.
L. KING: Good seeing you -- representative of the Bush campaign, Ed Gillespie. What's the mood there? Have you heard what Mark had to say, Ed, that's it's all up to Florida. Do you agree with that?
ED GILLESPIE, BUSH CAMPAIGN: I heard part of it. Not entirely, Larry. We feel good about Florida, by the way. We're outperforming our vote goals in Duval County by about 44,000 votes and Clay County, just south of there, by about 7,000 votes. So we are optimistic about Florida this evening.
But there is still some things -- as you know earlier in the evening, Florida called for Vice President Gore and it's looking like that's actually going to end up being called for Governor Bush. We're optimistic. But for example, in New Mexico, right now, there are 98 percent of the votes are in, and we are down by 1,000 votes.
But there are about 96,000 absentee and early ballots that have yet to be counted and opened. But they're identified by party, and 44,000 of them are Republican absentee and early ballots and 40,000 of them are Democrat. That's a 4,000 advantage, we're down 1,000. So if the independents break the way they have during the course of the day, we will end up carrying New Mexico. It's blue on the map on the networks but not likely to stay that way.
L. KING: Are you saying, Ed, that you might lose Florida, chance, and still win?
GILLESPIE: No, sir.
L. KING: Well, if you say you win Florida, why even bring up New Mexico? If you win Florida, you win.
GILLESPIE: Because I think it's important. I mean, every electoral college vote counts and the people in New Mexico ought to know that they're very much likely to end up in the Bush column you.
L. KING: But then you are saying that you've won this election because you're going to win Florida. So, I mean, New Mexico is interesting, but only interesting. You've won Florida?
GILLESPIE: It's -- I'm not saying we've won Florida at this point, Larry. I'm saying that we're outperforming vote goals in a number of critical counties and we're optimistic about it at this point in the night.
L. KING: What do you make of this whole night and how is the candidate holding up?
GILLESPIE: He's holding up great. He's obviously with his family and watching the tallies and very much looking forward to having them come to a successful conclusion. We're optimistic.
L. KING: We will have no mandate this evening, and we obviously have a split nation. What do you make of this? GILLESPIE: Look, this is always going to be a close contest. The office of the presidency was an open seat. It doesn't happen that often in American politics. We have two new generations, two baby boom generation leaders as the heads of their parties, and the issues people are -- you know, there were no economic crisis. We're at peace, and so the electorate was actually in a fairly content mind- set.
And so this race was always going to come down close, but I think the governor's agenda he laid out of saving Social Security, improving public education, modernizing Medicare, restoring our military readiness, and providing tax relief to America's families, he'll have a mandate if we end up with 270 electoral college votes tonight.
L. KING: But it can't he a mandate if one person has 50.2 percent of the vote and one has 49.8.
GILLESPIE: Well, I think that we'll see how the Congress shapes up and how they view it.
L. KING: Ed, anything tonight surprise you?
GILLESPIE: Well, there have been surprise throughout the night, but...
L. KING: Did any states surprise you?
GILLESPIE: Did any states surprise us? No, you know, we were and are still in play in a lot of states that have been traditionally Democratic. I see Arkansas just came in recently, Tennessee, West Virginia, these have been traditionally Democratic-leaning states and so we were hopeful about being able to carry those states, but we weren't -- certainly weren't taking anything for granted there.
L. KING: Thank you very much, Ed.
GILLESPIE: Thank you.
L. KING: Ed Gillespie, spokesperson for the Bush campaign. Two very confident spokespersons and both saying they're going to win Florida. And we'll return it now. We'll be back with our panel in a little while. Let's go back to Atlanta and Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, and Larry, what a night. What an election. What a count. We're going to look at two of the four states that we are still not able to call and look very closely at the raw vote. Right now, the state of Wisconsin, the Badger State, Al Gore had 48 percent -- and this is 64 percent of the precincts reporting, Al Gore with 48 percent; George W. Bush with 47 percent. You can see why this election is so close. In the state -- and continuing in the state of Wisconsin, we're going to look at the Nader vote. Ralph Nader is pulling 4 percent while there is less than a 1 percentage point difference between George Bush and Al Gore.
GREENFIELD: Ralph Nader has, 64,000 votes that would probably give the state to him. Let's go to Oregon. WOODRUFF: Oregon, again, 49 percent, half the precincts reporting. Less than 1 percent, about 1 percent of the vote separating Al Gore and George Bush. But now let's look at the Nader vote. And the Buchanan vote and the vote for John Hagelin, who is the Natural Law Party nominee in Oregon. We will check on those numbers. We're not able to bring them to you right now. We have to pull up an entirely separate graphic there, if you will. Our apologies. We'll try to do that when we come back. We're going to take a break and look even deeper into these numbers. We'll be back.
WOODRUFF: It is a close, close election and we're down to four states. We don't know the results of the outcome in those states. Let's look at what the states are. In Oregon with 49 percent, almost half the precincts reporting, there is a 2 percentage point separation: 48 percent for George W. Bush; 46 percent for Al Gore. And now let's look at what Ralph Nader is drawing: 4 percent, 32,000 votes.
GREENFIELD: Way more than the margin.
WOODRUFF: Way more than the margin, if you assume most of the Nader votes would come from Al Gore, which is an assumption that some people will make. Others may disagree. In the state of Iowa, at this hour, with 84 percent of the precincts reporting, Al Gore is ahead by 1 percentage point: 562,000 votes to 551,000 for George W. Bush. And look, Ralph Nader, 2 percent.
GREENFIELD: In other words, if you assume most of those votes come from Gore, as our exit polls are showing, Gore is only up by 11,000, could probably add another 6 to 10,000 vote to his lead safely.
WOODRUFF: And in the state of Florida, the one we've been looking at all night long. Look at this: 86 percent of the precinct reporting. At this moment, George Bush, 50 percent to Al Gore's 48; 2.4 million to 2.3 million. And now let's look at the other names on the ballot. Ralph Nader, 2 percent, drawing 78,000 votes.
GREENFIELD: Gore is losing by 103,000 votes, Nader's drawing 78,000. You figure without Nader, it would be even closer than it is now.
SCHNEIDER: But the only state where we can calculate that Nader is clearly tilting the state marginally to George W. Bush is Oregon.
SHAW: Pat Neal is in Washington at Nader's campaign location -- Pat.
PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you were talking about, Oregon is the key here and Oregon, it appears now that Nader has about 4 percent of the vote according to some of these exit. Now, Nader is particularly strong -- he has just come to the podium here talking about the strength of this growing Green Party, to talk about how people needed to sit up and take notice of this Green Party. Now, people in Oregon understand this.
He is particularly strong in the areas of Portland, Eugene, Salem, the Willamette Valley, all the way down to Ashland, near the California border. There are issues out there that have gone on for some time that Nader has been involved in, environmental issues, the idea of breaching those dams to save the salmon.
Also, the fact that -- one thing we need to point out that Nader polled a 4 percent in 1996 in Oregon without ever campaigning there. So, that is a key factor there.
Also, look at Washington state, what he's done there. Also, Florida, as you mentioned, 2 percent of the vote in Florida. Now, Nader was just in Florida on Saturday night, rallying people, getting them excited, and getting people to go out and vote for him.
He has been here. He's come back in, as we mentioned now, and telling people that, as we said, that this Green Party is something to be reckoned with -- Bernie.
SHAW: OK, Pat Neal, at -- I'm wondering. Has Ralph Nader privately or any of his people in the campaign had anything to say other than what Nader has claimed, that he's not being a spoiler, he's not raining on Al Gore's parade, he won't cost him the election?
NEAL: Well, he has said along, throughout this campaign -- and they are saying privately as well as publicly -- that Al Gore, if Al Gore loses this campaign, it was because of Al Gore. It was not because of Ralph Nader. He has said this repeatedly. He has said this defiantly down to today, that he is pulling votes because of his popularity, and it does not have anything to do with Al Gore.
Actually, the Nader people have said that they expect and they predict 40 percent of the vote for Nader would have been people who never would have gone to the polls at all -- Bernie.
SHAW: OK, thank you, Pat Neal, at Ralph Nader's headquarter in Washington -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Ralph Nader, I'm looking at a quote from him when he singled out the Democratic Party, the campaigning he's done throughout this year. He called it a "hollow party that tells labor unions, minority groups and its progressive members you've got nowhere to go because we're not as bad as the Republican Party."
All right. We're going go back to Washington now, to our own Larry King -- Larry.
L. KING: Thank you, Judy, and let's get back to our outstanding panel. They are the Honorable Ann Richards, the former Democratic governor of Texas. She's been with us all night, as has Howard Baker, the former Senate majority leader and former chief of staff in the Reagan administration, and Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post." OK. We're down to four. We had the misread on Florida. What do you make of it, Ann? He has to win Florida, right, your guy?
RICHARDS: Yes, yes. He's got to win Florida and he ought to win Oregon. And if he does, we win. If he doesn't, we lose.
L. KING: Is Nader costing him tonight?
RICHARDS: I think that -- I think Nader is cutting into him but I don't think it's going to cost him the vote.
L. KING: Senator?
BAKER: I don't think so either. I think that -- to begin with, it's a remarkable election. You've never seen anything like it, and frankly, I did not think it would be this close. But in the final analysis, it does come down to Florida and perhaps one other state, and that's just the way it is. But on Florida, with so many absentee ballots to be counted, I would bet there that it's tomorrow before we have a read on who's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tomorrow.
RICHARDS: Twenty-five minutes it will be tomorrow.
L. KING: Unless -- unless the governor were to win the other three states.
L. KING: And therefore, win it without Florida.
BAKER: But Florida really is key, and it's going to be tomorrow in all likelihood before we know the results of that. Now, there are all sorts of combinations where one or the other could win, but without Florida it becomes extremely unlikely.
L. KING: How big a fuss, Bob, will this misread make tomorrow?
WOODWARD: Well, you mean...
L. KING: Will it be in tomorrow's headline?
WOODWARD: ... the initial miscall on Florida.
L. KING: This would be a whole different picture right now.
WOODWARD: You can't tell, but I mean, the difficulty right now is yet another misread. Clearly, there are very few votes that are the difference between victory and defeat here. Absentee ballots floating around. The Bush campaign spokesman was making a good case. It seemed that maybe New Mexico was still in play. So somebody is likely to come out with the Dewey beats Truman headline and have to take that back.
RICHARDS: But I don't think the question's going to be the miscall. I think the question is going to be if they were irregularities. When you've got a vote that is this close, and you have as much money and time and effort invested, there are going to be some deep discussions about what took place in Florida.
L. KING: Missouri might change with St. Louis voting late.
BAKER: It certainly might. Let me -- let me lovingly disagree with Ann about that. I don't think we've seen any signs of irregularity. And even if there were, I reminded of that judgment that Richard Nixon made when he chose not to contest the election. And you know, there were patent irregularities in Illinois results at that time.
I really do think that regardless of who wins, Gore or Bush, that the nation will unite behind them. I think they will have a mandate with a united nation the day after the election.
L. KING: And the loser will...
BAKER: And I think the loser certainly ought to and almost certainly will coalesce behind the new leader.
L. KING: Is this a case, Bob, where the media -- the mainstream, as some critics call it, media -- was correct? They said we'd be up late, a lot of the others said, no, it would be over by 7:38. We'd be up late, we wouldn't know, closest election ever.
WOODWARD: Well, it turned out much more so, and it seems to be narrowing in a very bizarre way.
L. KING: The popular vote.
WOODWARD: I mean, what Howard Baker says is correct, but also it would really be nice when the election is over and everything is counted that there is clarity. It will be so much nicer if one candidate emerges and there is not this kind of ambiguity that lingers for decades as it did in the Nixon-Kennedy race of 1960.
L. KING: That's not going to happen, though, is it, Ann?
RICHARDS: The other thing to remember, though, Larry, is that there are some other elections taking place. The Senate is very, very close. The House is very, very close. I mean, regardless of what happens later on, both of those bodies are going to be so tightly between the two parties, and this election being this close, believe me, government isn't going to act a whole lot.
L. KING: The key then for the country, what do we do, Howard -- let's take this as a fact. Half of this country is one corner and half is in another. How do they govern?
BAKER: Well, they do govern. The country's built that way.
L. KING: But how?
BAKER: And I...
L. KING: Compromise, compromise, compromise. BAKER: Well, perhaps, but I think -- I think whichever man is elected president will have a period when there is cooperation with the Congress and he'll have his opportunity. Some call it the first 100 days. But anyway, he'll have a period when he'll have his own mandate and he'll be able to do a lot. And the country will demand that.
I think if Congress and the president, whoever that president is, decides to go to war instantly, the country would come down on him like a ton of brick. I just don't think it'll work that way.
L. KING: What do you think.
WOODWARD: Well, I think the interesting question is what is message that the public and the voters are trying to say, and the message is...
L. KING: We don't know.
WOODWARD: ... to a certain extent we don't want too much governing, we don't want anyone to have a mandate.
L. KING: We want some government.
WOODWARD: There is enough uncertainty -- well, we want Social Security, we want the checks to go out and the military to function. But the programs that were presented by Bush and Gore no one swallowed them whole, no one has a mandate, and maybe that's the essence of what's being said here. Let's be careful with new programs and new spending, and it's the old Howard Baker theme, less government.
L. KING: Careful doesn't forge great leadership, though, does it?
RICHARDS: Well, it does...
L. KING: It (UNINTELLIGIBLE) careful leadership.
RICHARDS: Well, it doesn't -- yes, it doesn't allow you to step at it and become a great leader. It does allow you, though, to be selective in the issues that you're going to push, and I think that that's what's going to happen, whichever one of these men becomes the president. They're going to refine these issues down to one or two or maybe three, because it will be very difficult in a divided Senate and a divided House, as close as it is, to be able to go with any large expansive program.
L. KING: In a sense then, senator, the public is sending these two men a message?
BAKER: Yes, it is. The public sent a very clear message, and the message, in my view, was not much difference in what you're saying. Maybe technical differences in programs, but you're essentially saying the same thing. Not much difference in what you're proposing -- there are significant differences, but that wasn't the determining factor. They chose this election on the basis really, in my view, of who they instinctively thought would make better president. And you know, Larry, that's as good a way to judge a presidential candidate as any. It's really better than issue papers.
Do you trust this man? Do you want him to lead this country?.
L. KING: Would've, should've, could've -- what are they going to say about Clinton?
WOODWARD: I don't know.
L. KING: And oh, what are they going to say about Hillary? We haven't discussed her. She's the only one tonight on any network where they carried her complete acceptance speech everywhere.
... I saw she did not mention her husband, who was dutifully standing behind her clapping.
L. KING: What do you make of that story?
WOODWARD: Well, it is a big victory for her. There were lots of doubters. She went and did it by the book. She really worked hard. She mastered New York. In that statement tonight, she kept -- you know, it's not as if she's forgotten New York. She kept talking about New York, New Yorkers, naming county leaders and so forth. So she learned how to win, and she's done it. Hats should go off to her.
L. KING: We have an important call, we understand. Thanks to Ann Richards, Howard Baker, Bob Woodward. We may be coming back, we may not, but we have an important call. Let's go to Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Larry, this is not a call in the presidential race. It is a very important call, and that is CNN is saying that the United States Hose of Representatives will remain in Republican hands. The Republicans will retain control of the House. Let's go right to Wolf Blitzer over at the balance of power arena -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Judy, the Democrats needed to gain at least seven seats, net seats, in the House of Representative in order to become the majority, in order to allow Dick Gephardt, the congressman from Missouri, to become the next Speaker of the House of Representative. That has not happened. Stuart Rothenberg, tell us what's going on in the House of Representatives, why the Republicans now are expected to retain the majority?
ROTHENBERG: Well, Wolf, overall we have not that many seats that changed hands one way or other. And the Republicans did surprisingly well in the East, enough to offset any late Democratic advantage in the West. So for example, the Republicans picked up a seat in New York in the First Congressional District, in Western Pennsylvania in the fourth. It looks like a surprise win in Eastern Connecticut in the Second Congressional District where Sam Gejdenson may well go down, looks like he has gone down. In New Jersey, it looks like Dick Zimmer has won that seat over Rush Holt. Zimmer, a former congressman, has come back to retake it from Holt in a close race. Congressman Pat Danner, a Democrat, retired in Missouri. Her son was unable to hold the seat for the Democrats.
It looks like Republican Sam Graves has won. And on the other hand, the Democrats just didn't pick up enough Republican seats. They picked up Rick Lazio's district in Long Island, Suffolk County, the Second Congressional District where the Republicans nominated an African-American woman. She lost. That's a Democratic pick-up.
And in Oklahoma's Second Congressional District, which we mentioned a while ago, at least it seems like days ago, doesn't it Wolf? Other than that, a seat in New Mexico possibly and some in California and the west but just not enough take-aways by the Democrats.
BLITZER: And as a result of all of this, Dennis Hastert of Illinois will remain the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
ROTHENBERG: Well, that's for the Republican conference to decide. But absolutely, yes, the Republicans are going to keep control of the House of Representatives. They might have an additional seat or two, they might be down two or three. We can't know quite yet. We're waiting for the West Coast to come in, but they're going to hold.
BLITZER: We've been waiting for an important race in the U.S. Senate. CNN can now call a winner in Washington state. Maria Cantwell, a major executive of a high-tech industry, defeating the Republican incumbent Senator Slade Gorton. This is not a huge surprise, but it does represent a net gain, of course, for the Democrats.
ROTHENBERG: Absolutely, and it's actually the second time Slade Gorton has been defeated as an incumbent in a bid for re-election. It happened a number of years ago as well. The Democrats always thought they had a good chance here, but it was interesting. Both parties had very different polling, The Republicans were pretty sure that Slade Gordon was ahead and would win. The Democrats thought the same about Maria Cantwell, I guess the Democratic polling was better and they were right.
BLITZER: So right now, as of now, the balance of power in the Senate 49 Republicans, 47 Democrats. Four seats in the U.S. Senate still up for grabs, those seats are from Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska and Montana. How do those states look right now, Stuart?
ROTHENBERG: Well, again, Wolf, the Democrats have to get a sweep here. Montana is a particularly difficult race for them because it is a generally conservative and Republican state. That's a tough nut to crack. But right now in Michigan and Missouri it's hard to tell. The Republicans could go three for three or the Democrats could go three for three.
BLITZER: And that Missouri seat is especially interesting. Almost unprecedented.
ROTHENBERG: It's quite tight. It's a close race. Nobody knows exactly what to make of it given the unusual circumstances. Ashcroft has been holding a narrow lead throughout the evening, but it's awfully close.
BLITZER: All right, let's take a look at the Senate balance of power, where it stands right now. There were, going into tonight, 35 Republican hold-overs, 321 Democratic hold overs. So far, one tonight, 14 Republicans have been elected, 16 Democrats have been elected.
As a result, the new total is this: 49 Republicans, 47 Democrats, four undecided seats. Those four undecided seats once again Missouri, John Ashcroft, the incumbent against the late Mel Carnahan the governor. In Michigan, Spencer Abraham against Debbie Stabenow. In Montana, Conrad Burns and Brian Schweitzer still up in the air.
And in Nebraska, Ben Nelson and Don Stenberg. That race in Nebraska has been an exciting race. Normally, Republicans seem to be the power in power in Nebraska, but the Democrats in this particular case, Ben Nelson, he's still in the running.
ROTHENBERG: Absolutely, but I think the reason Stenberg is doing so well is the Republicanism of the state in a presidential year. Republican insiders in Washington have actually been rather pessimistic about that race. Nelson, a former governor, was popular, lost to Chuck Hagel, you may remember a few years ago, has come back now. he's no longer a governor. He can run as moderate Democrat.
It's a difficult race for the Republicans, but I think there are lot of Stenberg people that are shaking their finger at me saying, a- ha, we told you so. We told this was going to be a close race but I don't know whether he will win.
BLITZER: And let's take another close look at Montana. It's normally a Republican state, but Conrad Burns, the incumbent Republican senator facing a stiff challenge from Brian Schweitzer, a rancher. That race still too close to call.
ROTHENBERG: Right, and Schweitzer, of course, used the issue of prescription drugs to his advantage early to get a lot of earned media coverage, what we call free media, redefine this race. Burns was rather slow to respond, and I think Republicans are nervous about the seat. In the last few days, Republicans thought that their polling showed Conrad Burns with a slight up tick and were somewhat more hopeful.
BLITZER: All right, and we have a new race to call now in Vermont. We've been waiting a long time. CNN can now call Governor Howard Dean, the incumbent, winner, beating Ruth Dwier in what was a very, very close race. Howard Dean signed into law in Vermont what's called the same sex marriage provision, yet he went on to be re- elected.
ROTHENBERG: Well, this was a three-way race, and the real question was whether Howard Dean was going to get the 50 percent of the vote that he needed according to state law to be re-elected or whether the race would be thrown to the state legislature. As you mentioned. this civil unions issue was quite controversial. The governor had been popular outside of that issue and apparently was able to hang on.
BLITZER: So there's -- basically, as we're looking at the Senate, the House, the governor's races, no huge surprises but there is still some doubt as far as the U.S. Senate is concerned. The House of Representatives will remain in a Republican majority. The Senate still up for grabs.
ROTHENBERG: The one thing we can say, Wolf, there has not been a major see change in American politics in the House or the Senate.
BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, thank you. Now back to the desk.
WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf Blitzer. The one other observation I would make about the Senate is that as of now, there will be two more women in the United States Senate. Right now there are nine women serving with the addition of Hillary Rodham Clinton from the state of New York, and Maria Cantwell all the way across the country in the state of Washington, there will be 11 and potentially if -- we don't know how Michigan's going to turn out, but we still have Debbie Stabenow running against the incumbent Spence Abraham.
SHAW: My observation would be to remind everybody what Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, said here in an interview on CNN a short while ago. He really doubts that the Democrats are going to go five up tonight in the Senate.
GREENFIELD: One other thing, if the Democrats pick up three seats of these four seats they're out. It becomes 50-50, and if Joe Lieberman and Al Gore do win the White House, Joe Lieberman's decision to run for the Senate and not cede the seat to a Democrat who would almost certainly have won, will cost the Democrats control of the United States Senate. I cannot remember in election where so many things turn in one thin dime.
WOODRUFF: Is there any question if Joe Lieberman had given up that seat that the Democrats would have retained?
GREENFIELD: Attorney General Blumenthal actually did some polling on this, would have been an easy victor over anyone the Republicans had put out. and I think, you know, if Joe Lieberman becomes vice president, becomes president of the Senate, the first thing he'll face is a fairly angry minority of Democrats who said thanks a whole lot for costing us control of the Senate.
SCHNEIDER: And what Stu just said, if the Congress does remain in Republicans hands, the House is in Republican hands, the Senate's odds are slightly in that favor, then that's really a vote for the status quo, Democrats thought they had a chance to break through. he said there was no see change in that.
What'll be interesting, however, if you have a Republican president, if George Bush wins and a Republican Congress, this would be the first time the Republicans controlled everything since 1954. And I think a lot of Republicans would be overcome with excitement, irrational exuberance, and they might over-interpret their mandate if that's the outcome tonight.
WOODRUFF: Would it be so irrational?
SCHNEIDER: I think it would be given the closeness -- I think the vote for a Republican Congress is probably a vote for the status quo and the vote for George Bush, if he wins, would not exactly be a sweeping mandate.
GREENFIELD: Well, just to point out, when Republicans took the Congress in 1994, and some would argue they overreached and perhaps thought they had more of a mandate than they did, they handed a big club to Bill Clinton and I think we even heard in what Speaker Hastert and majority Leader Trent Lott have said is a cautionary tale to the more ideological Republicans to say, look, you know, this is obviously going to be a very close, evenly divide government. Whatever happens, let's take it easy.
SCHNEIDER: And the guy who would have the job of doing that would be, if he's elected, President Bush, who would then be able to say -- would have to say I control the agenda and I was not elected to create a conservative revolution in the country because he wasn't.
WOODRUFF: And in fact, that's exactly what Karl Rove said to me. I had a conversation with him earlier today about this very thing and that's one of the things he said. He said if we have a Republican House and a Republican Senate, he said by no means assume that we could get what we want. We're going to have to work with the other party.
SCHNEIDER: And quickly, if Al Gore wins and the Republican Congress is re-elected, that really does look like vote for the status quo in very good times.
SHAW: And you have to consider the influence of Christian Conservatives tonight in this vote and what they did.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, well, they mobilized a lot of voters for Governor Bush in some key states like, maybe, Iowa.
WOODRUFF: We've been able to call the House of Representatives. We'll be remaining in Republican hands. We're still waiting on the Senate and we are waiting for the White House. We don't know yet. It's 246 to 242. Much more when we come back.
SHAW: The political ground war for control of the White House is still under way at this hour between Vice President Al Gore and George Bush. Look how close it is in the race for the White House. The Texas Governor with 246 electoral votes, the vice president, 242.
These are the states still out. We cannot call these states. Florida has 25 electoral votes, Iowa, 7, Oregon, 7 and Wisconsin, 11.
SCHNEIDER: Notice there that Bush needs 24 electoral votes. If Florida were to go in the Bush column, that would put him over the top. Gore needs 28. If Florida were to go to the Gore column, he would still need three more electoral states from one of those remaining states.
WOODRUFF: In other words, Bush could also put this together without Florida. Bush could win Iowa, Oregon and Wisconsin. And no matter what happens to the state of Florida, Governor Bush would be the next president.
GREENFIELD: We heard a lot about absentee ballots and Mark Fabiani of the Gore campaign was saying well, you know, those are seniors, and that's our strength. As you pointed out earlier, it bears repeating, according to the exit polls, Bush is actually leading Gore among Florida seniors for all the talk about prescription drugs and Social Security. And where Gore is winning big in Florida is among 18- to 29-year-olds, where our exit polls says he is running 56 to 38 ahead. So, just to scramble this further, the notion that seniors in Florida are all kind of retired Democrats from the North ready to vote for Al Gore, according to the exit polls so far, that's not what's going on.
WOODRUFF: Well, what sort of margin do we know does Bush have among seniors in Florida?
Bill, do we have that kind of information?
GREENFIELD: I don't mean to step on Bill's toes, but I got the piece of paper. This is how Stalin beat Trotsky, he had the paper. Fifty-two-46 amongst -- I'm sorry, if Bush is leading Gore 52-46 among seniors 65 and over, he is ahead 50-48 among seniors 60 and over. And as I said, Gore running very strongly in the youth vote in Florida.
SCHNEIDER: We showed in Arizona that seniors helped Bush carry that state. There was a heavy vote for Bush among seniors in Arizona. So, the idea that Gore is just sweeping up seniors with his Social Security and Medicare, that Gore is sweeping them up because of fears about Social Security, is just not so.
WOODRUFF: Which means that a number of them are perfectly willing to entertain the idea having that Social Security money invested, not so much for them but for the generations to come.
SCHNEIDER: Or they might be voting for Bush for other reasons, like conservative views on values and a desire for moral leadership and putting aside their reservations about his Social Security and Medicare plans.
GREENFIELD: Could this be the Clinton factor?
SHAW: Well, let's hold off on the Clinton factor for just a second and say that CNN is making a call in West Virginia. The challenger Bob Wise has unseated Governor Cecil Underwood. That's in West Virginia.
Jeff, the Clinton factor, you were saying.
GREENFIELD: Well, I'm asking Bill, if seniors are not voting on prescription drugs and Social Security as much as the Gore campaign would have liked, could it be that for seniors the personal misbehavior of President Clinton is more of a factor than in, say, other age groups?
SCHNEIDER: Well, that's exactly what we found in 1998, remember, when Republicans held on to Congress, most of the reason why they held on to Congress was because of older women, senior women, who appeared to have been dismayed by Clinton's behavior in the Monica Lewinsky affair, the fact that they disapproved of his values, and that drove a lot of them to vote for Republicans for Congress and save the Republican Congress. In this case, they may be voting for George Bush -- that's senior women -- for the same reasons.
SHAW: Well, the House is apparently going to remain in the hands of the Republican party, and the Senate, well, we will have to wait and see what happens.
One guest that Larry King has is especially interested in the Senate. Back to you, Larry, and your panel.
L. KING: Thanks, and we're going to wrap it up with this outstanding panel. You're right Bernie, you're interested in the Senate, 49-47 as of right now.
What is this saying?
BAKER: Well, it's saying that the country's equally divided on the presidential contest and in the Congress. It also probably means that Republicans will keep the Senate but by a narrow margin. It means Trent Lott will remain as majority leader but his authority will be tightly circumscribed.
L. KING: Is this tenuous, Ann Richards?
RICHARDS: I think it is difficult to govern when things are this even. The question is whether they're going to be broad strokes, you know. Are you really going to privatize Social Security with this kind of a margin? I think they're going to look at the exit polls on issues, how did the country feel about vouchers, for example? I think that will guide, because when things are close, people are going to start paying real attention to what the public thinks.
L. KING: Well, help me here. Is this change or not change?
WOODWARD: I don't know. I was thinking of the poor people who have to write the newspaper headlines tonight. It truly is a nightmare situation because. to a certain extent, you have to tell the readers, look at tomorrow's paper, not the one we're giving you.
L. KING: Thursday's paper.
WOODWARD: Yes, Thursday's paper. Simply because, how do you write a headline that says unclear, stay tuned, unsure.
L. KING: So, what do we do with this? There's nothing we can do but observe it, conjecture.
WOODWARD: We could stay until 1:00 a.m. tomorrow and maybe there would be a more complete answer.
L. KING: You have been noble all evening. What has surprised you the most tonight, Ann?
RICHARDS: I don't know. I guess that it really did turn out to be as close as it was. I thought that one of these guys was going to just break out, you know, and take it, some time at the last minute. But it didn't happen. It really was as divided as all of us who were out there campaigning saw it.
L. KING: And you mentioned, Senator Baker, at one time tonight, how happier you and Ann are than these people.
BAKER: I tell you what, the highest estate in politics is to have served and retired. It is perfectly marvelous to be here looking in instead of being out there and running and hanging by your fingernails to see how it turns out.
L. KING: Why did he want this?
BAKER: It's not a compulsion. It really is an answer to a call for public service. I don't mean that to sound noble, but that is the motivation, Democrats and Republicans. And they got through an awful lot in order to do it.
RICHARDS: It's just like -- it's almost like being a missionary or something. You know, you just -- whatever the time is, you feel called to do it, and you love it while you're doing it. But you don't know how...
L. KING: But you face a kind of rejection Woodward and I don't face. You face a Tuesday in November.
BAKER: Well, actually...
RICHARDS: Oh, yes, but is it really a rejection? You know, when you lose...
BAKER: You face a sudden -- a sudden decision on election day. But let me tell you -- and this, I guess, would be my parting comment. I have four grandsons, and each one of them I will tell that politics and public service is the highest secular undertaking that they could engage in.
L. KING: Well, I might say to all of you, it has been quite a night. It is still quite a night. It is going to be quite a morning, and we may be seeing you all tomorrow morning. Thank you. Thanks to all of you very much.
RICHARDS: Good night, Larry.
L. KING: Thanks to all our guests.
Governor Ann Richards, Senator Howard Baker, and Pulitzer Prize- winning Bob Woodward. New book is "Maestro," coming out. He's going to be with us next week to talk about that.
Right now, we're going back to the national desk. Florida, Oregon, Iowa, Wisconsin -- guys, what's going on?
WOODRUFF: You said it, Larry, those are the four. Your guests have been terrific, you've been terrific. Thanks very much to all of you.
We are going to take a break. It's coming up -- in fact, it is 1 o'clock on the East Coast, 10 o'clock at night on the West Coast. We're going to be here until we know who the next president is. We'll be right back.
SHAW: Stomachs are tight, palms are moist, and people are walking the floor across the United States of America still in search for a winner of the White House. Right now, Texas Governor George Bush has a four electoral vote lead. He has 246 to Vice President Gore's 242. Four states undecided, outstanding.
Here they are -- well, first, here they are: Florida, Iowa, Oregon, Wisconsin, with the electoral votes you see in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Governor Bush has 246, as we say. His key to the White House, only two -- 24 more electoral votes. On the left side at the top, Vice President Gore with 242 electoral votes. His key to White House just 28 more electoral votes.
WOODRUFF: And here is the reason we're all biting our fingernails down to the nubs. Here are the numbers. This is the raw vote. With 77 percent of the precincts reporting across the United States, George W. Bush has 49 percent of the vote, 39.7 million votes, to Al Gore's 48 percent, 39 million votes plus some.
Now, let's look at the raw votes in those four states that Bernie mentioned. In the state of Florida with 91 percent of the precincts reporting, George W. Bush at 50 percent, Al Gore, 48 percent.
GREENFIELD: To 65,000 votes.
WOODRUFF: 65,000 separation. Ralph Nader, 2 percent, 84,000 votes, and you can see a few votes there for Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin with the Natural Law Party.
GREENFIELD: That means Nader's -- Nader's vote is bigger than the margin by which Bush is leading Gore. If you assign most of Nader's votes go Gore, you probably get an absolute dead-heat in Florida.
WOODRUFF: Moving on to the state of Wisconsin, with 76 percent of the precincts reporting, you don't get a whole lot closer than this: Al Gore, 48 percent, a little over a million votes, George W. Bush, 48 percent, a little under a million votes.
GREENFIELD: 5,000-vote margin. Look at Nader's vote.
WOODRUFF: And there, Ralph Nader is clearly a factor, I think you have to say: 4 percent of the vote, 77,000 to a few thousand, give or take, for Pat Buchanan, and 630 for John Hagelin.
In the state of Iowa, 93 percent of the precincts reporting Al Gore ahead with 49 percent to George W. Bush's 48 percent. Look how close -- what is it?
GREENFIELD: Eighty-five hundred...
WOODRUFF: Eight thousand...
SCHNEIDER: Eighty-five hundred votes.
GREENFIELD: Eighty-five hundred votes.
WOODRUFF: 8,500 votes approximately.
GREENFIELD: And look at Nader.
SCHNEIDER: But Nader has got five times that many.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, no, three times that many.
WOODRUFF: Twenty-five -- 25,000 votes, 2 percent.
GREENFIELD: Point is, you talk about the Nader factor, and when you come down to these states...
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
GREENFIELD: ... what you can see is that in these states, without Nader, it's highly likely Gore gets them all.
WOODRUFF: And in the state of Oregon, the last one we're going to look at here, 54 percent of the precincts reporting. This is the state where the -- you could only vote by mail. You could not go to a polling place today. You had to vote by mail or deliver your ballot today. George W. Bush 49 percent with 411,000 to Al Gore's 46 percent, 388,000. What is that? A separation of...
SCHNEIDER: 22,000 votes. GREENFIELD: 22,000 votes.
WOODRUFF: And Ralph Nader has more than the spread there, 4 percent, 34, almost 35,000 votes.
SHAW: And these are -- these are -- and these are mailed-in ballots that had to be in before election day.
GREENFIELD: One point: Very rarely does a third-party candidate have this much this -- anything like this impact in a race? When people who talk about Perot in '92 costing Bush the White House, the Perot vote split, as our exit polls showed, almost dead-even between -- would have split dead-even between Clinton and Bush. In this case, with Ralph Nader pulling nationally under 5 percent of the vote, he clearly has the potential to cost Al Gore the White House, which no third-party candidate, as far as I can tell, has ever done.
SCHNEIDER: And it is important that it is not because Ralph Nader is doing spectacularly well. He is not. He probably won't get the 5 percent nationally he needs to qualify for federal subsidies. He won't even make 5 percent. He's doing that because the race is so excruciatingly close between Gore and Bush.
WOODRUFF: But Ralph Nader has said throughout this campaign it doesn't matter to him if he costs -- if he costs Al Gore the election. I mean, his argument is he's two -- there's not a dime's worth of difference between these two parties. Clearly, Al Gore and a lot of Democrats disagree with that. But that is his contention.
GREENFIELD: Consider -- consider just one other thing. At the start of this race, we all thought Florida was securely in Bush's camp. We all thought the Dukakis states were clearly in Gore's camp. Neither of those things have been true, and that's why we're here at 1 o'clock in the morning wondering who the president is going to be.
SHAW: Think about what must be going through the minds of the candidates. How would you like to be George Bush or Al Gore?
WOODRUFF: Or Al Gore at this hour. And speaking of the candidates, let's go now to our correspondents who know these candidates as well as anybody we know. Candy Crowley is in Austin, Texas, John King in Nashville, Tennessee.
Candy, what are they thinking? What are they saying there?
CROWLEY: Well, not only is it interesting to think about what the candidates are thinking about, but how would you like to be Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, who is sitting next to his brother as they are waiting for the outcome down there, which, obviously, can be quite critical?
I wanted to put a couple of scheduling words into the mix right now. When you look at three of those four states that are currently undecided, Florida -- George Bush spent 24 of the last 48 campaign hours in Florida. He was there all Sunday. Wisconsin and Iowa, George Bush was in both states yesterday. Certainly, the strategist is looking pretty smart right now as this race comes down to three to four states, three of which Bush has visited in the last 48 hours -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John King, when it comes to strategy, are the Gore people feeling they did the right thing?
KING: Well, they certainly feel they did the right thing the last 48 hours. The vice president, just as Governor Bush, visiting those states now down to the wire. They are looking at Florida. If you look at the math, these other states, obviously still in play, Wisconsin and the like, but the vice president can only win this election -- unless some state turns around -- the vice president can only win this election if he wins Florida. We are told, he has been told tonight, that the outstanding precincts tend to be Democratic, but he has a lot of ground to be made up.
And if you make calls into the Gore campaign, ask them about the Nader factor, the words you get back are words we would not repeat on television. Very upset inside the Gore campaign about Ralph Nader's candidacy. But again, this all comes down to the state of Florida now. They are telling the vice president they believe he can make up the gap. As the tallies come in, he is closing it slightly. But that is it. The vice president, they are watching Florida, that will decide whether he gets to move up from vice president to president.
WOODRUFF: John, we are hearing a little bit of an echo because they are watching you on the screen right behind you. We are seeing two John Kings in the picture here. Two is better than one.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, you said you wanted to emphasize something, (INAUDIBLE) what John was saying about William Daley, his campaign manager, said you've got to win Florida to win this thing tonight.
SCHNEIDER: Let's get down to where this really stands. Al Gore cannot win with just Florida. He needs Florida and one additional state, any one of those three other states, Florida, plus. George Bush can just barely win with 271 electoral votes if he carries Florida. If he does not carry Florida, he has got to carry all three of the other states in order to win this election.
WOODRUFF: But he can do it without Florida, which is the difference. Al Gore must have Florida.
SCHNEIDER: Al Gore must have Florida, but if George Bush -- if Al Gore does carry Florida, then George Bush to win has to carry every one of those other states, Iowa, Oregon, and Wisconsin. That is what it comes to.
GREENFIELD: But one piece of good news: there cannot be a tie. SCHNEIDER: That is right.
GREENFIELD: It cannot end now, there is no way to divide the remaining states for 269-269. There are many ways to divide is so that the winner has 271 and the loser has 267.
SCHNEIDER: What you are saying is that there will be an end to this.
SHAW: You should see the smile on Hal Bruno's face when you just said, Jeff, when you just said there cannot be a tie. Hal Bruno just smiled, and he is smiling again.
WOODRUFF: I'm wondering, is John King still with us? John and Candy, are they still with us, or have we said goodbye?
SHAW: No, they are still with us.
WOODRUFF: John, you said you couldn't repeat what the Gore people -- Candy, if I can turn around and come to you, on this whole Nader business, to what extent have the Bush people factored that in to their thinking?
CROWLEY: Well, look, they are looking at the same polls that we are and they knew all along that Ralph Nader would be a factor in some of those places. It made Bush competitive. It kept him competitive. I don't think in the long run, if this ends up to be a Bush win, that they are going to argue with what Nader did or didn't do. A win is a win is a win.
WOODRUFF: And John King, when you said that you couldn't repeat what some of the Gore people were saying about Ralph Nader, how hard did they try? Because we know there were some of efforts to persuade Ralph Nader to pull back and, you know, drop his challenge?
KING: Well, it was a very late effort, Judy. There was an effort over the Internet. There were petitions circulated to major Nader supporters from key Democrats, mostly from the liberal community, the consumer advocacy community. But they failed in that effort and some Democrats also privately saying tonight and one publicly, Ed Rendell, the general chairman of the Democratic National Committee, they are not just pointing fingers at Nader, they are pointing fingers directly at the Gore strategy.
Mr. Rendell telling us earlier, he thinks they should not have pulled out of Ohio so early. And look at the six electoral votes in Arkansas. If the vice president had won those, he could win the White House by winning the other three outstanding states, not Florida. President Clinton went to his home state only once to campaign on Sunday. That was because the Gore campaign controlled his schedule, sharp criticism from Mr. Rendell tonight, that they should have let the president out of the box much earlier, especially in Arkansas and perhaps elsewhere.
SHAW: Well, Clinton actually tried to not-so-subtly indicate to Gore -- you remember, John, a few days ago when people were saying to Clinton visiting him, you know, you really be out there. And Clinton said, tell Gore, tell Gore.
KING: Well, Bernie, the Gore research did show and other Democratic pollsters would agree with this that the president could be hurtful in some areas of the country. But what Mr. Rendell was saying tonight, just in the case of Arkansas, look at those six electoral votes, if we could have won those.
His other criticism was in Ohio, that criticism echoed by some leaders of organized labor. They believe they had a pretty good operation in Ohio, but the Gore campaign in the final week went from $1 million a week on television, to $200,000 a week on television. They left themselves no room for error. That is the criticism some Democrats hearing tonight. They left themselves no room for error at all. So, when they lost here in Tennessee, and then president's home state of Arkansas, now they have to win Florida. And, of course, they are losing right now.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King in Nashville, Candy Crowley in Austin.
It is early in the morning, 1:15 Eastern time. I guess it's 12:15 there in Texas, in Austin, Texas. We are watching an extraordinary presidential election unfold. We are going to take a break. When we come back, among other things, we are going to hear from the Capitol Gang, Stay with us.
WOODRUFF: It's a presidential race that is hatband tight, as somebody said. We are going to the Capitol Gang right now for some analysis and insight and we are going to start with Al Hunt in Washington.
HUNT: Thank you, Judy.
None of us have hats on, but I'm here with Bob Novak and Kate O'Beirne. Robert coming down to Florida, Palm Beach, Broward, Dade County.
NOVAK: This is just an amazing thing, that we are picking what we used to call the leader of the free world. We still call him the leader of free of world, I think. President of United States, very important office. This -- these votes were cast -- the polls closed in Florida six hours ago. This is the year 2000, not the year 1932. And we are still counting them. And this is an agonizing process of deciding whether Vice President Gore in these closing hours of this contest -- and they voted a long time ago, there is nothing going on -- is whether they can bridge the gap. It is now what? 50,000 votes between them? And I have been trying to do projections, not very good at math. I think it comes very, very close, but probably no cigar.
Of course, just to repeat, if George Bush wins Florida, he's elected president. If Al Gore wins it, he probably wins it, because I think he'll probably win the other state necessary to get over the top. HUNT: Kate, if George Bush does win it -- either that combination of the three states or winning Florida -- CNN has already projected the Republicans will control the House. If they win one of those remaining three Senate seats, they'll control the Senate. That would be a sweep. They'd get everything, but it would be a pretty lame sweep, wouldn't it?
O'BEIRNE: It would be a very big sweep, Al.
Let me just -- let me just notice the irony. In a long night, the first returns we know are House Republicans held onto the House, the nasty, unpopular House Republicans who impeached the president, the people who were said -- who were persona non grata in Philadelphia, who were supposed to be such a drag on the Republicans, and the first thing we know that tonight is that the House Republicans held on. And the Senate is still in some doubt, Al, as you know. Republicans, it appears, have lost two seats. They could lose a couple more. So I...
HUNT: Everything is close. Everything just moves...
O'BEIRNE: It's just unbelievable, yes.
HUNT: Everything that moves is close.
You know, I have one thought about Ralph Nader. It's only -- it's only the second-worst scenario for Democrats, because even though he's probably going to cost or he may well cost Al Gore several states, the worst nightmare of Democrats was that he would do that and get 5 percent the vote, which would make him a permanent fixture, at least eligible for federal money in four years.
It appears, Bob, he's not going to get that 4 percent. So -- so...
NOVAK: Yes, it's a -- it's another great victory for the two- party system, I would believe. And our old colleague Pat Buchanan really had almost a humiliating election.
I want to go back to what Kate was talking about, the House staying Republican. You know, in this town, in Washington, it has been a matter of holy writ for about a year that the Democrats were going to regain control of the House this year. Now, they may in 2002. But who knows what lies ahead? But they -- they -- this was holy writ, and the lobbyists were pouring money into the Democratic coffers. Charlie Rangel was measuring the drapes to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
(CROSSTALK) NOVAK: And Speaker Gephardt -- that's what they called him, Speaker Gephardt, in the cloakroom. This is really a blow. As we sit here, we don't know who's going to control the Senate. But the Democrats never really thought they were going to control it.
O'BEIRNE: And Bob, the House Republicans deserve credit. Dick Gephardt really got his members to sit tight. They -- the Republicans were defending many more seats and they played it really smart. They played local elections. They had their members do what they had to do locally to win. I mean, it's -- it's a win they fought for and they deserved credit for.
HUNT: They loaded up with pork, with highways, dams...
O'BEIRNE: Pork and...
HUNT: ... everything. The big-spending Republicans, and it worked.
O'BEIRNE: Well, they turned the tables. I mean, it is very difficult to knock off incumbent members of a majority party, as the Republicans learned over 40 years, and that's something Dick Gephardt is appreciating. He won't have this kind of luck, though, between now and 2002, keeping his members where they are. They'll be some retirements now.
HUNT: I think you'll find at most there's seven or right incumbents that lost tonight. So once again, the system is an "incumbents protection act" for both parties, in the House.
NOVAK: You know, in the Senate, why is that the Republicans in the Senate had such a hard time keeping their seats, particularly on a percentage basis? A lot of them were not very attractive candidates that the lost now. Senator Roth, a fine gentleman -- really shouldn't have run. His time in Delaware, his time had come. And I think in particularly in the Senate the personality of the person is much more important than it is in the House.
HUNT: Well, personality, Bob, we'll wrap up for the night. We'll go back to Judy Woodruff in Atlanta with more on this nail- biter.
WOODRUFF: All right, it is a nail-biter. We're all still sitting on the edge of our seats, such as they are at this hour. We've been here for -- what is it? -- eight hours and counting, and we're not leaving until we know who -- who the next president is going to be.
Much more to come.
SHAW: What if we don't know?
WOODRUFF: Bernie's wondering what do we do if we don't know.
We'll be here. We're going to take a break. We'll come back.
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