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THE SITUATION ROOM

Obama Campaign's Final Push; McCain's Must-Win State; Survey Shows Rising Doubts about Palin; Obama Might Consider Offering McCain A Post; Is There a Bradley Effect?

Aired October 31, 2008 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Barack Obama looking ahead as he ticks off his presidential to-do list. He answers John McCain on spending and says he may even have a job offer for his Republican rival. It's all included in my one-on-one interview.
John McCain with a new sense of urgency as he crisscrosses a key battleground state.

Will Ohio make or break his drive for the U.S. presidency?

Sarah Palin gets a boost from a would-be rival, but she faces a new setback -- a poll showing rising doubts about her readiness.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. We're live in Des Moines, Iowa, where I just arrived, just interviewed Barack Obama. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Four days before the election, Barack Obama is back where he got his start in this campaign. Just a short while ago, he sat down with me here in Des Moines. In my one-on-one interview, he answers John McCain on so-called pet project spending.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Senator McCain says if he's president, he will veto every piece of legislation that has pork barrel spending or earmarks. Will you make that same commitment?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, here's what I'll tell you. We're going to have to fundamentally change how our appropriations process works. And I want to sit down with members of Congress, should I be elected, even before I'm sworn in and explain to them that some of these projects may be worthy projects in their home state, home district. But right now, we can only do those things that are absolutely necessary.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: We're going to get more of my sit down interview with Senator Barack Obama. That's later here. You can see the full interview, including viewer questions, in the next hour of THE SITUATION ROOM. Stand by for that.

In these, the final days, the Obama campaign is pulling out all the stops, sending out surrogates to key battlegrounds and unleashing an ad campaign on John McCain's home turf. Let's go live to CNN's Jessica Yellin. She's in Chicago right now -- Jessica, it looks like they're leaving no stone unturned.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Barack Obama and his top supporters are on the ground and on the air in more states than you might expect.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YELLIN (voice-over): In Florida, the Obama campaign dispatched the poster boy for the message that every vote counts.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, take it from me, elections matter. Every vote matters.

YELLIN: While the candidate himself returned to the state that gave him his first victory.

OBAMA: On the day of the Iowa caucus, my faith in the American people was vindicated. And what you started here in Iowa has swept the nation.

YELLIN: He flashed growing confidence that early voting is going his way.

OBAMA: We're seeing the same turnout, we're seeing the same people going and getting in line -- volunteers, people participating, a whole new way of doing democracy.

YELLIN: To win, Obama is counting on first time voters. And his campaign manager says they're turning out, telling reporters first time voters make up 19 percent of early voting Democrats in North Carolina and new or sometime voters make up 43 percent of early voting Democrats in Nevada.

In battleground states, he says, the die is being cast right now, insisting to win on election day, the burden is on John McCain to not just carry the day, but carry it convincingly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Endorsed by Warren Buffett and Colin Powell -- a leader who will bring us together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: The Obama campaign is feeling so bullish, it's putting up ads in reliably red states -- Georgia, North Dakota and, wait for it -- Arizona -- a final show of force on John McCain's home turf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YELLIN: And, Wolf, Obama is in Indiana tonight, another red state where John McCain is leading, but not by much. And then he continues his red state tour this weekend, going to Nevada, Missouri and three stops in Ohio on Sunday -- Wolf. BLITZER: Ohio a critical state, no doubt about that. Thanks, Jessica, for that.

We're also, by the way, awaiting a joint appearance between John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We're going to have live coverage coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM. McCain trying to cover as much ground as he can in a must-win battleground state.

CNN's Dana Bash on the campaign trail in Ohio -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the sense of urgency on this final bus tour through Ohio with John McCain is palpable. And he's telling raucous crowds like this one that he knows his history and that is that he has to win this state if he wants to win the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH (voice-over): That's why, for the second day in a row, McCain is logging more than 200 miles on his bus, rolling through the small towns and farmland of rural Ohio -- swing areas in this critical state, where the McCain campaign says they hope to lure rural and working class conservative Democrats and Independents. He's doing with a tried and true GOP message -- sharpening his rhetoric with the "L" word to tell voters Barack Obama isn't like them.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the fundamental difference between Senator Obama, who began his campaign in the liberal left lane of American politics and has never left it. It's not an accident that he is the most liberal Senator in the United States Senator -- more liberal than a senator who used to call himself a socialist.

BASH: The name of the game for McCain with four days left is to find a way to appeal to what his campaign aides call "late breakers" -- undecided voters. And their theory is anyone who hasn't decided at this point in this kind of change election has doubts about Obama. So at every stop, he tries to fuel that -- from Obama's tax policies to his readiness as commander-in-chief.

MCCAIN: My friends, I have been tested. Senator Obama hasn't. Our enemies know me. I know our enemies and I know our friends and I know how to deal with both of them, my friends. I have been tested.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: The most striking thing you sense in these final campaign days with McCain is how keenly aware both he and his aides are about the power of momentum and the importance of stopping Obama's. That's why his aides are trying, along the way, to convince us that polls show that the race is tightening. And the vibe that McCain is trying to give off, both with his body language and with his rhetoric, is that, as you can hear, he is continuing to fight -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Dana, thanks very much. Dana on the campaign trail for us. Let's go to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, voters have a very distinct choice coming up between John McCain and Barack Obama in this presidential race -- two very different approaches to, arguably, the most serious set of challenges this country has faced in a hundred years. Whoever wins is going to have his hands full. But what about the rest of us?

Our part's pretty much wrapped up after we cast our ballots on November the 4th -- or maybe even before. And after all the votes have been counted, well, the excitement pretty much is over for us. Most of us will be happy with the outcome. But if you look at the latest polls, a lot of people won't be rushing to embrace the new leadership. It's reasonably close.

So either way, a new administration means new faces at the top, new policies that will trickle down to all of us little people. And the form of that trickle will determine the way a lot of our lives go from here.

So here's our question: How will your life change if your candidate loses?

Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and you can post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Good question, Jack. Thank you.

She certainly gets a rock star welcome and massive, massive crowds. But new poll numbers tell a different story. Is Sarah Palin dragging down John McCain?

Plus, do white voters tell the truth when they're talking to pollsters? Does the so-called Bradley Effect even exist? Our own John King has been investigating.

And wondering who's in that seven percent of undecided voters? The amazing way both campaigns are trying to woo one woman in Ohio. Her story and a lot more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Just four days before the election and Governor Sarah Palin is campaigning really hard in Pennsylvania right now. But she faces a new setback -- a new poll showing growing doubts over her readiness as a running mate.

CNN's Brian Todd is in Pennsylvania -- Brian, what's this all about?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is about those lingering doubts that have followed Palin -- at least since those network interviews that damaged her politically back earlier in the fall. But the campaign is fighting back, saying that if you want the real public temperature of Sarah Palin, just check out the responses she's getting on the ground.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Her core supporters aren't the problem. Witness a rock star's response at a small airport hangar in Western Pennsylvania.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And there's only one man who has ever really fought for you, Latrobe. And he has the courage to keep on fighting for you. That man is John McCain. Thank you. God bless you and God bless America.

TODD: But in these final frenzied days of the race, new doubts are surfacing about whether Sarah Palin is a drag on the McCain campaign. A "New York Times"/CBS News poll shows 59 percent of voters surveyed said Palin is not prepared for the job of vice president. That's 9 percentage points more since the beginning of October.

A subplot to this -- the man shepherding Sarah Palin around Pennsylvania is former Governor Tom Ridge, who has had to defend his contention that the dynamics of the race in his state would have been changed if he'd be selected as John McCain's running mate. When we caught up to him, Ridge again said the remark was not a rap on Palin. And as for the new poll --

TOM RIDGE (R), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: I think it's rubbish. They ought to throw them in the can. John made a bold choice. He's someone that has cut taxes, reform-minded, a maverick -- oh, not -- incidentally, not coincidentally, but also the governor of a major energy state. So, I don't know where they're getting those polls from.

TODD: One analyst says it won't be clear until Tuesday night if Palin's really a drag on the ticket. But if it turns out she is --

PROF. BRADLEY WATSON, ST. VINCENT COLLEGE: Clearly, she -- she stumbled in her ABC and CBS interviews. And I think when the history books are written, people will go back to those and question whether she should have been rolled out so quickly in exactly that -- that way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Now, an official with the McCain-Palin camp would not respond directly to that. But she essentially rejects the findings of that "Times"/CBS poll, saying that the positive responses to Palin's candidacy have been overwhelming -- that the record crowds she is drawing here on the trail mean that voters are responding to her confidence and to her record as a tough executive getting things done -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Brian in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

As you know, it's been a pretty rough campaign out there. It's sometimes gotten pretty personal, as well. But in my one-on-one interview today with Senator Barack Obama, he said that if he wins the race for the White House, he might offer John McCain a job in his administration.

Let's discuss this and more with the senior economic adviser to Senator McCain, Douglas Eakin. He's joining us now live. Doug, thanks very much for coming in.

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, MCCAIN SENIOR ECONOMIC POLICY ADVISER: Thank you.

BLITZER: I'll play this very little clip for you and then we'll talk about this and more.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I would certainly consider any position for John McCain where I thought he was going to be the best person for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: When you heard that -- and I hope you heard the interview -- what did you think?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, it was one of many astonishing thing that Barack Obama said. I mean, quite frankly, I was amazed to hear him say, you know, I'd consider a corporation tax cut. It has some merit. I mean he has spent this campaign brutally attacking John McCain's proposal to cut the corporate rate to 25 percent, keep good American jobs here in the United States and not send them to India, China and Ireland. It was simply astonishing.

You know, I was equally surprised that he said his top priority was going to be to fix the plumbing of the capitalist system. I mean, we learned from a real plumber that his basic instincts have nothing to do with capitalist systems. His basic instinct is let's take someone's paycheck and let Barack Obama decide who gets the money in America.

Those aren't the kinds of things that are going to be successful in America. We need to go back to the basics, give people a chance to get a job, build a life, save for college, save for a home and live on the fruits of their own labors. And that's what John McCain is running on.

BLITZER: Because, as you probably know, as you heard me when I pressed him on that notion of increasing the corporate tax rate, he said he's never even considered such a thing. And he did, as you point out, say he would be open to cutting it in order to try to stimulate the economy somewhat. So you're saying that that's news as far as you're concerned?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, it means he's finally learning how the economy works. I mean, you know, this has been painful to watch, quite frankly. His basic proposals -- especially to raise taxes -- I mean, I have a Ph.D. from Princeton. You don't need a Ph.D. in economics to know that to raise taxes right now in this economy is a terrible idea. And there are third party studies we've seen this week saying Barack Obama's basic plans would cost six million jobs over the next 10 years. That's the way to turn a downturn into a disaster.

But if he can learn about the corporate rate cut, he should also learn about you don't raise capital gains taxes when the stock market is heading south more than north. You don't raise taxes on the small businesses that create 70 percent of jobs and in 19 -- you know, in 2008, have created 238,000 jobs.

BLITZER: But he did point out that --

HOLTZ-EAKIN: This is a revelation.

BLITZER: Doug, he did point out that even Warren Buffett said to him, to raise the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 20 percent for those making more than $250,000 a year would not necessarily hurt the economy.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, I'm glad that he went and called a friend and got that. I think if you're going to develop economic policies, you should look at the record. And the record's very clear on tax policy and recessions. You can go back to the Great Depression. The lessons there are do not raise barriers to trade, do not raise taxes in a recession.

Barack Obama is proposing to do exactly those two things. Learn the lessons of history and then make your policy decisions.

BLITZER: I wonder, you know, what Senator McCain -- maybe you'd have answer, because when I asked Senator Obama if he would consider -- at least or one of the -- he'd consider bringing Senator McCain into this -- into his administration if he wins the White House -- actually, a viewer, one of our I-Reporters asked that question. And he said, yes, he'd consider him. I wonder if Senator McCain, if he wins on Tuesday, would consider a role for Senator Obama in a McCain administration. What do you think the answer to that would be, Doug?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: I think the answer would be, quite frankly, that John McCain is interested in solving this nation's problems. He's interested in solving the financial problem by helping homeowners stay in their homes. He's interested in getting this economy going in the right direction. He's interested in winning the two wars we're fighting right now.

If there's a role for Barack Obama inside or outside this administration to constructively contribute to meeting America's needs, then he'd be welcome.

BLITZER: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, thanks for coming in.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.

And four days until the election and it's down to the wire. James Carville and Bill Bennett -- they're standing by live. They're going to be joining us.

Fifth graders held hostage -- a man walking into their classroom, holding them at gunpoint. You're going to find out what happened.

And in a GOP stronghold, even Republicans are standing in line to meet Michelle Obama. So what's going on in this battleground state? We'll go there live.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Zain Verjee is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Zain, what's going on?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, General David Petraeus is now officially in charge of U.S. Central Command. He took the helm during a ceremony today at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Petraeus is now responsible for U.S. military operations not only in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan.

At least three people are dead and 18 others may be missing after the aging rusty boat that they were in ran aground this morning near Miami Beach. Searchers have rescued about 21 people. Some of them are being detained by customs officials. The boat as carrying 42 people, including some migrants from Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

Frightening moments this morning at an elementary school in Stockton Springs, Maine. A gunman walked into a fifth grade classroom and took 11 students hostage. Police tackled him outside the classroom about 20 minutes later and arrested him. No children were injured.

And, Wolf, an amazing discovery about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. An Israeli archaeologist found what's believed to be the earliest known Hebrew text. It was found in a shard of pottery that dates back to the biblical time of King David, about 3,000 years ago. Archaeologists have yet to decipher the text, but they say that it appears to contain the roots of the words judge, slave and king -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Wow! That's going to be huge. Archeologists are going to have a field day with that. Zain, thank you.

We're waiting for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to come out at a major rally in Columbus, Ohio for John McCain. We're going to go there live. We want to hear what Arnold Schwarzenegger has to say about this race for the White House.

And John McCain is using Barack Obama's own words against him in a new series of ads. Will it work?

We're going to talk about it with James Carville and Bill Bennett. They're standing by live.

Plus, my one-on-one interview with Barack Obama. The Democratic candidate talks about finding bin Laden and what to do about Iran. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, so what would Barack Obama's top priority be if -- if he's elected president of the United States?

You'll hear him answer that question as I interview him right here in Iowa. And polls show Barack Obama well ahead of John McCain right now. But some Obama supporters fear that prejudice could still influence this election. John King is standing by to take a closer look at the so-called Bradley Effect.

And is Sarah Palin ready to serve as president of the United States, if she were thrust into that role?

You're going to hear what a former secretary of state in a Republican administration had to say.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Barack Obama making a final push where his campaign first had success -- right here in Iowa. With only four days to go in this campaign, I asked him about his to-do list if -- if he gets to the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: If you're elected president, you have to make major decisions and you have to make them right away.

OBAMA: Right.

BLITZER: Priorities are going to be critical. I'm going to give you five issues. You tell me which one of these five would be your top priority after you're inaugurated on January 20th, if you're inaugurated.

OBAMA: Um-hmm.

BLITZER: Health care reform --

OBAMA: Right.

BLITZER: Energy independence, a new tax code, including tax cuts for the middle class, education spending or comprehensive immigration reform.

OBAMA: Well --

BLITZER: Top priority?

OBAMA: The top priorities may not be any of those five. It may be continuing to stabilize the financial system. We don't know yet what's going to happen in January. And none of this can be accomplished if we continue to see a potential meltdown in the banking system or the financial system. So that's priority number one, making sure that the plumbing works in our capitalist system.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And you're going to be able to hear the full interview with Senator Barack Obama, including your questions, viewer questions through our I-Report, in the next hour of THE SITUATION ROOM. Stand by for that.

It's happened before -- African-American candidates lose a race that they seemed to be on track to win. Let's go to our chief national correspondent, John King. He's been looking at whether the so-called Bradley Effect could be a factor in this historic presidential contest.

What are you discovering -- John?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is a question being asked, because if you go back in history, we've had only two elected African America African-American governors in the United States; only three African-Americans elected to the United States Senate. So some look at the polls showing Barack Obama ahead and look back in history and say they're not so sure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): Nineteen eighty-two -- Tom Bradley versus George Deukmejian in the race for California governor. Late public polls showed the African-American mayor of Los Angeles running ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. How are you? Good to see you.

KING: But he lost and there was immediate talk of The Bradley Effect -- white voters telling pollsters they plan to vote for a black candidate, but then doing just the opposite.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One factor that could have dashed Bradley's bid to become the first elected black governor is racial discrimination.

KING: Twenty-six years later, it is again a question -- are polls showing Barack Obama ahead reliable or is there a Bradley Effect that will show up on election day?

STEVE MERKSAMER, FORMER DEUKMEJIAN AIDE: It doesn't make me mad. It doesn't make me upset. It makes me think, why?

KING: Steve Merksamer was a top Deukmejian aide in '82 and still has the tracking poll charts showing a dead heat the night before the election. The term "Bradley Effect," he insists, is a myth.

MERKSAMER: The public polls were -- were just off. There's no such thing, at least as it relates to Tom Bradley and Governor George Deukmejian. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Tuesday --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Fast forward to 1990, another test in North Carolina -- Democrat Harvey Gantt versus conservative icon Senator Jesse Helms. Again, the African-American led in late polls, but lost on election day.

But Mel Watt, now a Congressman, but back then Gantt's campaign manager, says there is no evidence white voters lied about supporting Gantt.

REP. MEL WATT, 1990 GANTT CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The last poll we did, Harvey got 47.5 percent of the vote. And on election night, we got 47.6 percent of the vote.

KING: The undecided vote broke overwhelmingly against Gantt. And in that, Watt sees potential trouble for Obama now.

WATT: I think the people who are misleading themselves and looking for nonracial rationales to do are the people saying they're undecided.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: So, Wolf, perhaps no true Bradley effect if the definition is white people lying to pollsters about whether they'll support a black candidate. Perhaps that's not so true.

To say race is not an issue is to be quite naive. I talked to the veteran Democratic pollster Peter Hart about this. He said look at this spot on the map. This is the Democratic primaries. Look at Hillary Clinton winning in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee. He says without a doubt in his view, race played a role in Senator Clinton doing so well in these areas. And he says watch now on election night when you pull out - remember these areas where Senator Clinton did so well, the blue collar areas out here in western Pennsylvania as well, all Clinton territory. Critical as McCain and Obama go at it.

Peter Hart's view is this. He believes perhaps one percent to three percent of voters in some places won't vote for Obama because of the color of his skin. But Wolf he says remember African-American turnout is likely to go up, a whole wave of young voters likely or at least expected to turn out. In his view, that new turnout will wash out at least equal anyone who won't vote for Obama just because he's black.

BLITZER: And there's no doubt there will be some people out there, probably a lot of young people, who like the fact that this country might finally get an African-American president. That could counter that so-called Bradley effect as well. KING: Without a doubt. Some of the excitement around Obama is the potential for history. Most think it will be a wash especially because of his performance since he's been the nominee. If you look at the focus group, Peter says people are much more comfortable with the idea of Barack Obama, an African-American president, than they were when you asked that very same question five or six months ago.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, John King reporting for us.

With only a few days to go, there's a new twist in the McCain ad campaign. Let's discuss that and more. Joining us our CNN political contributors, the Democratic strategist, James Carville and the national radio talk show host, Bill Bennett. Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

I'll play a little clip of a new McCain ad and then we'll discuss. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: Larry has never had a chance to meet Sarah. I'm excited. She has ignited people across America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: That's not the ad. Obviously we'll get to that in a moment. That's a comment by Senator McCain on Larry Eagleburger. That's not one of the ads. The ad and I'll just talk -- you talk about it, Bill. It has a bunch of very nice comments that Senator Obama has made about Senator McCain. Is this an effective strategy for the Republican candidate this late in the game?

WILLIAM BENNETT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Sure, why not? Give it a try. James is an expert strategist. Uses his scalpel in these things. My military strategy has always been throw everything you got at them. I think it's fine. A few quotes too from Joe Biden about Barack Obama and his experience wouldn't hurt either. But I think it's fine. It's close in some places. Maybe they've tested it and they think it's fine. Let it rip.

BLITZER: What do you think, James?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's certainly not unfair. I have a sneaking suspicion, I'd be scared to run it, if people asked me questions and make observations of me and everybody say, I wish they would be more bipartisan and get along better, I'm not sure it doesn't help Obama to have an ad showing him praising McCain. I think people will say, I like that about him, that he's not out trying to demonize the opponent. I don't know if that's the case. I agree with the secretary, you have to try something here so try it out. I would be skeptical if that's going to help McCain very much.

BLITZER: Bill, Larry Eagleburger, a man you know, he served in the first Bush administration as the secretary of state, he was on NPR yesterday and said this about Sarah Palin. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY EAGLEBURGER, U.S. FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't think at the moment she is prepared to take over the reins of the presidency. I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it either.

MCCAIN: Larry has never had a chance to meet Sarah. Look, I am excited. She has ignited people across America. She's got more experience than Senator Obama and Senator Biden put together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And we just got this in, too, Bill. Larry Eagleburger saying just a little while ago -- he said, you are witnessing something quite unique a man who is about to talk to you while he has his foot in his mouth. I made a serious mistake yesterday. I was quoted correctly, I wasn't thinking when I said it. In fact, I was discussing foreign policy and this was in that context and I was just plain stupid. That's Larry Eagleburger backtracking obviously from what he said about Sarah Palin yesterday. Big deal or little deal?

BENNETT: Well, let me just pile on Larry and join him in piling on himself. I've known him very well. I thought he was just an ornery old grump. And then I got to know him and found out he was a smart guy, a very decent guy. We took some trips together, very impressive. We have something in this party called the "not meeting Palin" effect.

People who have met her and spent time with her are impressed. People watching her from a distance, especially early on with the Katie Couric interview, do not like her. But when it comes to qualifications, I can find 100 million people who do not think the leader of the Democratic ticket, Barack Obama, has anything like the right qualifications to be commander in chief.

BLITZER: James, what do you think?

CARVILLE: Well, Secretary Eagleburger's had a bad enough day, so I'll pile on him, too. I know him and I like him, too.

BENNETT: Bye-bye, Larry.

CARVILLE: I'm sorry, but I like him. He's not the most politic guy in the world. Unfortunately, 59 percent of the people in the country agree with an original assessment as does the Republican president of the Alaska Senate. It's hardly an unusual position that he took. But I hate to club you to death with praise, Secretary Eagleburger, but you are a pretty good guy.

BENNETT: He said at the moment. And who is ready at the moment? You remember what Harry Truman said when Roosevelt died. Felt like the moon and stars had fallen on his head.

CARVILLE: I agree -- right.

BLITZER: All right. Listen to this, guys, because both of you know Ken Duberstein, the White House Chief of Staff in the Reagan administration, the tail end of the Reagan administration, very well- known in Washington. Been on our shows a lot over the years and he just had to do this exchange with Fareed Zakaria. That's going to air on the show Fareed Zakaria GPS on Sunday. I want to play this little clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me ask you about your friend, Colin Powell. Powell endorsed Obama, very public, very successful, I think, moving endorsement. You're a Republican, you were Reagan's chief of staff, will you tell us who you're going to vote for on Tuesday?

KEN DUBERSTEIN: Let's put it this way -- I think Colin Powell's decision is, in fact, the good housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama.

ZAKARIA: And you're going to take --

DUBERSTEIN: I think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: He's going to take the good housekeeping seal of approval. Bill, a surprise? What do you think?

BENNETT: So the heck what! Tell the base. The base will be enraged about Ken Duberstein. This is why CNN should have a regional office in Amarillo. Who the heck cares what Ken Duberstein says? He's Colin Powell's acolyte. I worked with him in the Reagan administration. He's a lobbyist. He works this side. He works that side. Big deal. Nothing. This has no effect, zero.

BLITZER: What do you think, James?

CARVILLE: I'm trying to find, ken was Ronald Reagan's chief of staff. He's voting for Barack Obama. Let's repeat the obvious here. I'm looking for somebody, anybody in this country that voted for John Kerry that's going to vote for John McCain. Every day, I run into ten people come up and say, I voted for Bush in '04 and there's one. I doubt if he voted for Kerry but maybe he did. But other than him, who?

BENNETT: I don't know. I'm going to find some more.

CARVILLE: I doubt -- I'm not sure.

BENNETT: I'll read my mail to you. I'll get some callers, I'll bet you.

CARVILLE: Get some calls that say -- all right. Ronald Reagan's chief of staff endorsed Barack Obama, I think it's interesting.

BENNETT: There's a lot to that story. But anyway, yes, you've got Ronald Reagan's chief of staff who nobody's heard of in ten years, that's fine. Anybody else?

BLITZER: That interview's going to air on Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday 1:00 p.m. eastern right after "LATE EDITION."

All right. Bill Bennett, James Carville, thanks very much.

An area of Colorado that voted overwhelmingly for President Bush in the last election. What's going on now? The Democrats are making inroads there, even getting some Republicans to stand in line to see Michelle Obama. We'll go there live. That's coming up next.

It's the state that elected a former professional wrestler as governor. Now the latest political theater in Minnesota. The battle between the sitting senator and the challenger, the comedian, what's going on in Minnesota?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: So far, nearly two million people have cast their ballots in the battleground state of Florida. Take a look at the lines for early voters in Orange County in Florida. In this case, voters were delayed by an internet glitch that slowed poll workers. Our best political team is spread out in every battleground state.

We're watching all of this, including our own Dan Simon. He's in Colorado. Let's go straight to him for more. What's going on there, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. We're in Colorado Springs and John McCain has to run the tables here if he wants to win the state.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON (voice-over): Close to half of Colorado Springs voters will have cast their ballots before Election Day, a higher percentage than the rest of the state. They're engaged in politics here, the town is home to more than 100 evangelical Christian organizations. No surprise, there's twice as many Republicans than Democrats.

DIANE BETZER, REPUBLICAN: Politics, everybody that I know is Republican, McCain territory.

SIMON: In 2004, President Bush got a full two-thirds of the ballots cast, yet Democrats here are making a heavy play for votes and appear to have gained traction. The Obama campaign has raised $60,000 more here than McCain, not an enormous amount but noteworthy given the GOP's prominence in Colorado Springs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a heavily Republican area. But we're turning it blue.

SIMON: This week, Michelle Obama drew thousands of supporters. The line wrapped around the entire city auditorium. John Hoffman is a life-long Republican standing in line with the Democrats.

JOHN HOFFMAN, REPUBLICAN FOR OBAMA: I think it's more what Barack is for. He's very positive and offers us some hope for change. And we definitely need change.

SIMON: That kind of talk is disturbing to Jesus Reyes. He is the pastor of a Hispanic evangelical church. He knows most Hispanics will vote for Obama but encourages them to support McCain on the issues of abortion and gay marriage.

JESUS REYES, EVANGELICAL PASTOR: What I believe personally what is at risk is not the economy of the United States. I believe it's the moral of this country that is at risk right now in this election.

SIMON: If McCain gets his base out here in other GOP strongholds, he might be able to define the polls and carry the state. But seeing these Obama supporters in Colorado Springs, McCain's chances could be fading.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON: Stumping here for McCain tomorrow will be Mitt Romney, a logical choice given that Romney beat McCain here by 42 points in the primary -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right. Dan, thank you.

They're still sitting on the fence, these voters in the crucial battleground state of Ohio. A number of voters there are still undecided. Can you believe it? With only four days to go. We're going to find out what's going on.

In my one-on-one interview, Senator Barack Obama answers questions from our own CNN I-reporters. One of them is worried about Obama's economic plan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're standing by for the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's on the campaign trail today in Ohio, in Columbus, Ohio, with John McCain. There you're looking at live pictures. Victory in Ohio, that's the banner behind the podium there. We're going to go there once we see the straight talk express, the bus, show up. John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger, stand by for that.

McCain's been crisscrossing the state of Ohio and that's a key battleground state he simply cannot afford to lose if he hopes to win the presidency. Mary Snow's been our battleground coverage reporter in Ohio. She joining us from Youngstown. Mary, some voters there can't seem to make up their minds, not even yet.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, at this late stage latest polls show that about seven percent of people here in Ohio are still undecided. We followed one woman who has been wrestling with her decision. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Meet Mary Ann, the undecided voter. We first met 46-year- old Mary Ann Dulay Sunday in Youngstown, Ohio.

MARY ANN DULAY, UNDECIDED OHIO VOTER: I am a registered Republican, but I have not always voted straight Republican and I don't know that I will vote Republican this time either.

SNOW: Though she voted for Bill Clinton, Mary Ann has mostly favored Republicans ever since the steel industry left town in the 1970s leaving her father without a job. But five days after we first met, she was still struggling over who would be best for the economy.

You have filled out for the most part the presidential column, but that is the one you are agonizing about.

DULAY: Yes.

SNOW: John McCain campaigned here in the final days and so has Bill Clinton and both parties tried to reach her in her home and this is one day of mail from the largely Democrats. Republicans have phoned her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Mary, this is State Representative Kline, I am looking for your absentee ballot. And you may not have returned it to the board of elections.

SNOW: Five days ago she was leaning Obama. What happened?

DULAY: Well, ever since everybody is telling me all of the stuff about McCain.

SNOW: Abortion is one big issue for her. She is catholic and opposes abortion and is more in line with McCain on that point, but she has reservations.

DULAY: McCain scares me, because he is like a loaded gun ready to go off.

SNOW: But she says that Barack Obama is inexperienced.

DULAY: Maybe the inexperience is good for him and maybe he will be open to new ideas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Wolf, Mary Ann had to decide today, because she is leaving town tomorrow morning and called us late this morning to say she had mailed in the absentee ballot choosing Barack Obama -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Mary Snow is in Youngstown and staying put in Ohio until this election. Thank you.

A lot has been made of Senator Obama's online supporters. With only a few days to go, the Obama campaign right now going full throttle on YouTube making sure it is translated into votes. Let's bring in the internet reporter Abbi Tatton. Abbi, how are they doing it?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, Wolf, it is hard to keep up with the sheer amount of material that the Barack Obama campaign is putting on YouTube at the moment. They are coming at the rate of one video every couple of hours. One of the most recent, there's a voting rights and voting regulations video from Indiana there and celebrity video targets certain states and this is a Spanish language video giving instructions on what to do in Nevada and on Halloween, some Halloween humor poking fun at John McCain's robocalls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This call is coming to you from the Republican National Committee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TATTON: On YouTube, John McCain is up here as well in the last 24 hours uploading web videos. He has a popular supporter video on his page as well that he made last week, but it is the Barack Obama campaign that's trying to use the popularity in this forum on YouTube to try to transform it into a get out the vote effort in the final days. Will it work? Well, people are watching. Barack Obama's YouTube channel is the most currently watched on YouTube -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you.

Coming up, we'll have the full interview I did today with Senator Barack Obama, one-on-one, uncut, coming up in a few minutes. You will want to hear it. You will hear all of the questions and answers via our I-reporters as well.

Right now we are waiting for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California governor on a bus tour with John McCain in Ohio. They are both due to speak any moment, and we are due to go there live once the "Straight Talk" Express goes through.

And in a state where a former wrestler was governor, can a former comedian become a senator?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There is some excitement going on in Columbus, Ohio. You are looking at the live pictures. Victory in Ohio is the banner for John McCain who is getting ready for a rally. He is going to be introduced by the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, going out on the campaign trail with John McCain. We want to hear what they have to say. Standby, and we will go there live.

Also, you will be seeing on the interview with Senator Barack Obama, we are here in Des Moines, Iowa, the CNN election express behind me and the full interview uncut coming up right here on THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's go the Jack Cafferty right now, because he has "The Cafferty File" -- Jack?

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: How will your life change if your candidate loses?

Craig in California writes: "If Barack Obama wins or loses, I will still have to work hard, smart, and live unselfishly and spend and save wisely and hope that momentum has been gained to right the world. And on the second thought if John McCain wins, I will turn to prayer."

Kevin in Dallas says: "I'm for McCain and I work for a big business but unlike the big companies that have hurt our economy so, the company I work for is ethical. If McCain loses, my company will probably be hit hard by the policies as Obama bites the hand that feeds me. I'll just have to make sure my resume is up to date."

Brandon writes: "If Barack Obama loses this election then nothing will change for me at all and that is precisely the problem."

Patti writes: "Perversely if the tax plans are followed my husband and I will be $8,000 a year richer if our candidate Barack Obama loses. How's that for a silver lining?"

Ed in Egan, Minnesota writes: "If McCain and Palin would somehow win, I am moving out of the country for a place that has a real democracy."

M. writes: "Look for me on the next edition of "Survivor," from wherever. I won't be back."

And Kevin in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania: "If Obama loses, I will move to Washington, D.C. and dedicate my life to making sure that McCain lives out his full term."

If you didn't see your e-mail, you can go to my blog at CNN.com/CaffertyFile and look for it among hundreds -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.

And to our viewers, you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, Barack Obama warns John McCain and the slash-and- burn in the final days of the campaign. But would Obama now give his bitter rival a job in an Obama white house? Standby for my complete one-on-one interview with Senator Obama.

And the Democrat also is ranking the presidential priorities and finding room for agreement with Sarah Palin. We will tell you what happened.

Also this hour, John McCain getting some campaign muscle in Ohio from the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. They are getting ready for a big event in Columbus. We will go there live. We want to welcome the viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Des Moines, Iowa, with the CNN Election Express, and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.