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Palin Speaks to supporters in Nevada; McCain Speaks in Arizona

Aired November 4, 2008 - 02:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: We are keeping an eye on this, again, Barack Obama's plane. He's landed back in Chicago. Seeing a lot of people get out of the plane. I might have jumped the gun there.
Our camera was following one guy I thought might have been the candidate but everybody is stepping off, it appears, in suits and dark coats, so they all look like presidential candidates right about now from this grainy picture.

So don't know if he's gotten off with that plane or not get, but in fact, yes, Barack Obama is back in Chicago.

Like Candy mentioned, he has a little more campaigning to do tomorrow -- excuse me, today, it is Election Day. So he has some more campaigning to do today when he gets up.

Barack Obama back in Chicago right now.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, just after 2:00 a.m. here on the East Coast on Election Day. It is late but John McCain is still on the campaign trail. He's, in fact, at a rally in Prescott, Arizona. And in just minutes, we are going to take you there.


HOLMES: Good morning to you all. It is 2:05 on the East Coast. It is Election Day, so that means our election coverage has started and we drew somebody said the short straw. But this is the long straw. This is a good straw to have.

NGUYEN: This is the good one. Absolutely.

HOLMES: We get to kick it off here. I'm T.J. Holmes, folks.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody, I'm Betty Nguyen. And you are going to be with us until 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time so let's get right to it.

There is Barack Obama just minutes ago, getting off his plane there in Chicago. It is a huge day for him. He's got a -- he has about one other campaign event today before the big one tonight at Grant Park.

Here's another live look. That's probably him there in the Suburban leaving Chicago midway, but they are in this campaign and going through the night. In fact, some of them, and that being John McCain. HOLMES: John McCain, yes, he's out in Arizona. We understand he has made or is making his way to Prescott. That's just outside of Phoenix, about 100 miles north actually of Phoenix. He has a really going on out there.

Our Dana Bash is in the house there at that rally. Seems like she's been at every rally he (INAUDIBLE) for the past couple of years. But there she is again.

Has the candidate made it to that venue or is he still on the way?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is here somewhere. He's not out on the stage yet. We're waiting for either -- it's either "Rocky" music as usually what we hear. That sort of the -- the tip off that they're going to bring him on stage.

It hasn't happened yet but our colleagues in the traveling press corps who came in with him are all here. So that's why we know that he's absolutely here. So he should be starting relatively soon.

And you know, it's actually been interesting to sort of watch him, T.J., particularly over the past two or three days. He has collecting along the way some of his best friends in the Senate, some of his -- his travelers in arms, I think is probably the best way to put it.

Lindsay Graham, the senator from South Carolina, Joe Lieberman, Democratic turned Independent from Connecticut -- these are people who John McCain and his staff keeps around to make it happy, basically, to keep his spirits up.

You know what, you can hear behind me, I think they introduced John McCain. Not sure if he's coming on the stage. Nope. No, they're just cheering for him. They're just cheering for him, T.J. A little bit of -- jump the gun a little bit here, again.

We'll see if it actually happens, that "Rocky" music is usually, again, the tip off, but what I was saying, just in terms of how candidates kind of keep their spirits up, and for John McCain, it really is kind of simple, he does keep this close knit group of friends, very close friends around him.

I talked to Lindsay Graham about this a number of times. And he says, you know, part of my job is to crack jokes and to make him happy and just to keep up his energy and keep up the spirits of this campaign, because they're not delusional, they know how tough it is. And certainly, John McCain, all day, has been very energized. It's his personality, both -- because of his personal life as a prisoner war and his political life, the ups and downs.

In the face of adversity, he really does seem to get energized and you're seeing that, you know, in the past 24 hours especially, and especially on this marathon day, T.J.

HOLMES: Yes, and he has just a little ways longer to go. We assume this would be the finish line but he is not done campaigning just yet. A little more to do on this day, Election Day, as well.

Dana Bash, we'll be checking back in with you and with the candidate when he does -- when we finally hear that "Rocky" music and he comes out on stage.


HOLMES: That we're keeping an eye on another event happening nearby. Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, she is getting ready to fire up some supporters at a rally in Elko, Nevada. That's certainly an important state for the Republican ticket. We're expecting to hear from her any time now.

When that happens we'll try to dip in and see what's she's saying to the crowd up there in Nevada.

NGUYEN: Meanwhile, Barack Obama rallied the crowd last night in Manassas, Virginia. The senator from Illinois urged everyone to get out and vote. Take a listen.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, Virginia, I just have one word to you. Just one word. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, 21 months of campaigning, we are less than one day away from bringing about change in America.

Tomorrow you can turn the page on policies that have put greed and irresponsibility before hard work and sacrifice. Tomorrow you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, create new jobs, grow this economy so everybody has a chance to succeed. Not just the CEO but the secretary and the janitor. Not just the factory owner but the men and women who work the factory floors.

Tomorrow you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election. That pitch region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat. That asked us to fear at a time when we need to hope.

Tomorrow at this defining moment in history, Virginia, you can give this country the change that we need. It's starts here in Virginia. It's starts here in Manassas. This is where change begins.

And we began this journey in the depths of winter, on the steps of the old state capital of Springfield, Illinois. Like Manassas, there's a lot of history there. Abraham Lincoln served there for many years.

Back then we didn't have much money or many endorsements. We weren't given much chance by the polls or the pundits. We knew this was going to be a steep climb. But I also knew this. I knew that the size of our challenge has outstripped the capacity of a broken politics to solve.

I was certain that Americans of every political stripe were hungry for new ideas, new leadership. A new kind of politics, one that favors common sense over ideology, one that focuses on those values and ideals that we hold as common as Americans.

I was convinced that when we come together our voices are more powerful than the most entrenched lobbyist or the most vicious political attacks or the full force of the status quo in Washington that wants to keep things just the way they are.

And that's how we've come so far so close, that's how you end up with 100,000 people on a Monday night in November. This happened because of you. That's how we're going to change this country, because of you, and that's why in these last 21 hours, we can't afford to slow down or sit back or let up one minute, one second, not one moment, even if it rains tomorrow, you can't let that stop you.

You've got to wait in line. You've got to vote. You've got to take your friends, take your neighbors, we can't stop, not now, not when there's so much at stake. We are going to change America, Virginia, starting tomorrow.


HOLMES: Well, as we've been seeing over the past week or so, millions of people in this country have early voted. We don't know the results of some of that early voting, but we do know the results of some early voting that took place a couple of hours ago.

And Barack Obama has won, 71 percent of the vote. There it is. This is -- Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. You know, this happens every election year. They do theirs as -- right at midnight, and there you see the results, 15 for Obama and 6 for John McCain.

Yes, just 21 people were voting in the tiny town. This is the first time, actually, though, since 1968 that this village leaned Democratic in an election.

NGUYEN: Great thing about it, it only took them five minutes for all those 21 people to vote.

HOLMES: Let's take it all...

NGUYEN: Good luck with that today, folks, if you're headed out there to place your ballot in a box.

In the meantime, though, CNN's new poll of polls is out. I want you to take a look. Things have actually tightened up a bit. Obama is favored by 51 percent of the likely voters. McCain the choice of 44 percent, and undecideds make up 5 percent.

Now with Obama leading in the polls, some people are asking how can McCain win? Well, CNN chief national correspondent, John King, filed this report just a few days ago.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And before we go to the electoral map, I want our viewers to remember these areas I circle. Right in this part of this country, right here in the center of the country, and then out here in the west, remember this, remember all this red. Red here, red here and red there.

Now we're going to go look at the potential scenario for John McCain to get back into this race. And let's come up with our electoral map as we stand right now.

The dark red, safe McCain, lighter red leaning McCain. Same thing, dark blue, safe Obama, light blue, leaning Obama. The gold or yellow states are our tossup states.

Look at the blue out here, Wolf, already. Those were red states four years ago. Look at the blue over here in Virginia and the toss ups out there, all Bush states, these tossup states.

Every gold state on this map was a Bush state four years ago.

Now Barack Obama right now, as we project, would win the presidency if he just held everything he was -- every state he's leaning in today, he would win the presidency. So how does John McCain get back?

Well, it starts by sweeping these tossup states. No easy task. He's behind by a few points, as you just noted, in some of them. But let's give John McCain the benefit of the doubt and say he can hold Florida, a Republican state the last two cycles. He can hold North Carolina, a Republican state all the way back to 1976, I believe -- even 1964, excuse me.

Here we go, Ohio and 20, he needs that. Indiana, 11 electoral votes, he needs that. The (INAUDIBLE) state of Missouri has 11 more. McCain must win it. Same out here, he has to hold North Dakota and keep Montana, a stiff Obama challenge, in both of these states out here.

But Wolf, as you see, even that is not enough. Barack Obama would still win the presidency.

The McCain strategy is first and foremost turn Pennsylvania. They are campaigning heavily in this state. They need to take those 21, not only away from Barack Obama but make them Republican. That hasn't happened in 20 years so there's one steep hill for Senator McCain.

And even then, he'd be up 270, 268, they are concentrating, Wolf, on Colorado. McCain will be there on Wednesday and on Nevada, 5 electoral votes there, trying to turn two states where, at the moment, if he could do that, and everything else, he would get there, but both of these states, leaning blue at the moment.

Barack Obama, not only ahead in the polls, but has a very good ground operation in both Colorado and Nevada.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NGUYEN: He fired that just a few hours ago, and we are on the clock, all over this campaign. You can watch history unfold with the best political team on television from the first vote to the last, as actually we've already seen the first ballot already come in. That in Dixville Notch.

Now our team will bring it all to you, all day long and all night, in fact. So you want to stay with CNN, which is your home for politics.

HOLMES: Yes, all day, all night, and into the wee hours. We have a couple of events going on right now. Yes, we know it's 2:15 in the morning in the East Coast but you know, there's still some campaign to do out west.

Sarah Palin and John McCain both have live events going on right now. We will bring both of those to you live. Stick around, there's one right now, it's the Palin event actually happening in Elko, Nevada. Expecting her to come out and greet that crowd.

And also this is the event happening in Prescott, Arizona. We're expecting John McCain to step on stage any time now.

We're checking in with both of those events. Stay here.


HOLMES: Again, another live picture on one of the events we're keeping an eye on. This is out in Elko, Nevada. You see there on stage, on the left there, in the jeans, there she is, the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, the vice presidential candidate on the Republican side, holding a big rally there.

Actually watching her dad right now introduce her so we'll wait for the introduction to take place and when she steps up to that podium, we will head back and listen in to what she has to tell the crowd.

Well, looks like she might be stepping up to the podium. She might have a few thank you's.

Guys, want to go ahead and go to her and let her take it away? All right, we'll let her take it away.



So good to be here and we feel right at home in a high school basketball gym. This is where...


PALIN: Todd and I, in fact, our whole family, we spend a heck of a lot of time in basketball gyms, basketball, athletics, very, very important in my upbringing and Todd's also.

In fact, some -- in fact, my dad was our basketball coach and Todd's dad was a basketball referee. It's been in our blood. Healthy good competition and victory is what we fight for. That's what we're fighting for tomorrow.


PALIN: And Todd and I, both, we have been in positions on basketball teams as being the underdogs, but kind of providential here, maybe, my senior year of high school, I was a co-captain of our basketball team. We were the underdogs and we went on to win the state championship. So maybe...


PALIN: Now happy to have with me my parents and Todd's parents because they represent family. They represent for Todd and for me what this is all about. They're good, patriotic, hard working Americans just like all of you.

We cannot wait to get to work for them and all of you from the White House.


PALIN: Now one fellow up here in particular I'd like you to meet, that is my husband, Alaska's first dude, Todd Palin.


PALIN: Up in Alaska, Todd is a commercial fisherman and he's an -- he's a production operator up in Alaska's North Slope oil field, that's blue collar, hard working, tough work up there.

He's a proud member of the United Steelworkers Union and he's the four-time world champion of snow machine race of the Iron Dog (INAUDIBLE).


PALIN: Truly, Elko, thank you so much for coming out tonight. Late night and just appreciating so much that you would make this effort and this enthusiasm is overwhelming.

And this is what's going to carry us through, through this night into tomorrow, fighting for victory for all of you, Elko, and for all of America as we send John McCain to the White House.

So thank you.


PALIN: And Nevada, you are so welcoming and you are so patriotic. And even walking out here, I recognize a couple of the guys with their veterans' hats on. I would ask those of you have served in uniform in the past or serving today, raise your hard so this community -- we can thank you and we're going to honor you. Thank you. Thank you, sir.


PALIN: Thank you. Thank you.

And we do, we thank you and we honor you for your service and for your sacrifice. You are allowing us to assemble here freely. You're allowing us tomorrow to have this free, fair elections. Thank you for protecting our freedom, United States Military.


PALIN: Now -- so just hours away, Elko, the time for choosing. It is so near.

Nevada, are you ready to help us carry your state to victory?


PALIN: Are you ready to make John McCain the next president of the United States?


PALIN: And are you ready to send us to Washington to shake things up and get to work for all of you?


PALIN: Now as the time for choosing draws near the choice could not be clearer. Our country is facing tough times, and now more than ever, we need someone tough as president, and only John McCain has the wisdom and the experience and the courage and to get our economy back on the right track and put government back on your side, Elko.


PALIN: Please, especially for the students here, don't let any one ever lead you to believe that this is not your government we're talking about. This is of the people, by the people, for the people. We're going to put it back on your side.

Now when it comes to government reform, John McCain has not just talk the talk, he has walked the walk. He is known as the maverick, being able to take on the abuses in Washington and on Wall Street, being able to take the shots. He's got the scars to prove it, taking on his own party when he had to, taking shots from the other party also.

But knowing who it was that he was accountable to, that's the people who hired him, it's the people of America. He has always put his country first. He has always fought for you, Elko.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) PALIN: Now here's what we're going to do for you getting to work after this election. John McCain has the guts to confront the $10 trillion debt that the federal government has run up. $10 trillion that we're expected to pass on to our children for them to pay off for us. That is not right and that is not fair, it won't happen on our watch.

What we'll do is impose a spending freeze to cover all but the most vital functions of your federal government, like defense and keeping our commitments to our seniors and to our veterans and we will balance the budget by the end of our first term.


PALIN: Now we make like that, and Nevada, you can count on us to keep our promise because John and I are the only candidates in this race who have track records that prove we can reform.

Up in Alaska, I had to get up there and take on the good old boy network and put the veto pen to hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending. I've got the scars to prove that, too, you don't -- you don't win that Miss Congeniality contest up there when you're doing that.

But again, in knowing who it was I was accountable to, it was the people of Alaska. We did things up there like putting our state check book online so that everybody would know where every -- every penny of their money is the other people's money where it was being spent.


PALIN: And then getting our budget under control and taking a chunk of our surplus money that was in state coffers and return it right back to the people of Alaska because it's their money and they can spend it better than government can spend it for them.


PALIN: And then John McCain, of course, in the Senate, he's known not just as the patriot, he's been known the maverick, taking on the abuses and the self-dealing and the corruption, and as president, he'll be able to end those abuses once and for all for all of you.


PALIN: So here is where we start. Here's where we start. We're going to lower your income taxes, and we're going to double the child tax deduction for every family, and we're going to cut the capital gains tax, and we're going to bring tax relief to every American and every business.


PALIN: And here's a simple start. You know the U.S. business tax is the second highest in the world now. It is no wonder that our companies or corporations are moving overseas to conduct business there. It's cheaper because of taxes to conduct business over there. So we will reduce that business tax, and we will keep American businesses in America.

And on this whole issue of taxes, John McCain and I, we have a very basic, fundamental difference with our opponents on this issue. Now is the worst time to even think about raising taxes, especially on our families, taking more from you and more from our small businesses. Our small businesses are the backbone of this economy. It's not the right time to raise taxes.

But that's what our opponent wants to do. And independent analysis show us that our opponent's economic plans will actually kill six million jobs in the next decade. But see, Obama, he has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. It's like he just can't help himself. It's the way that he thinks, an ideological commitment.

Now, his tax plan pronouncement seemed to change almost daily now, right? Flip-flopping around on the details. But his commitment to higher taxes never changes, and you just have to look at his record on this. And all through his campaign, I've been trying to explain to people, and I know that most Americans understand, too. A lot of the media don't, but a lot of Americans do, that -- that it is not mean- spirited and it is not negative campaigning to call someone out on their record and on their plans and on their associations. It's imperative to all of you. We'll call someone out on their record, because it isn't fairness to the American electorate. You deserve to know.

Now, on his record, Barack Obama has voted to increase taxes 94 times. Now, 94 times supporting higher taxes. He had all those opportunities to be on our side. And instead, he was on the side of bigger government, taking more from all of you, more from our small businesses, and then wanting to dole out those dollars, your hard- earned wealth, according to his own priorities.

Now his support for taxing even higher on middle-class, everyday working Americans making just $42,000 a year. And now he's committed to almost a trillion dollars in new government growth, but he won't tell you where the dollars will come from to pay for these new proposals.

So you can just do the math or go with your gut. Either way, you draw the same conclusion. Barack Obama, he's for bigger government, and he's going to raise your taxes.

Now, it is the 11th hour in this campaign, but as more light has been shown just in the last few days, even, on what his plans are and his record is, it's important for you, when you get out there and you talk to your friends and your neighbors tomorrow to let them know what the facts are. Now, his whole tax plan is it's so funny it's kind of -- it's unraveling already, is what it's doing. Because...

HOLMES: All right. You're listening in to Sarah Palin in Elko, Nevada, at a campaign event and a rally out there at this late hour.

But on the right side, another laid-back rally. This one's happening in Prescott, Arizona. Senator John McCain holding an event out there. You've seen some of the balloons and flags waving around right now, because we're anticipating he's going to be pulling up in this big bus at any moment, Straight Talk Express. Prescott just north of Phoenix. And expecting his rally to begin out there at any moment.

But just want to let you know what we're keeping an eye on out here or here and keeping an eye on out there on the West Coast. But the campaigning does not stop, even though it is election day. So we will continue to monitor John McCain's event there on the right side. And when we do see him appear. We will go back to it and listen in to him.

But we'll go back in and listen in to Sarah Palin.


PALIN: ... back to the (INAUDIBLE), raising taxes on those making just $42,000 a year, as he was previously. Now, he calls this taking more from you and spreading your hard-earned money to other people, according to his priority. He calls that spreading the wealth.

Now, Joe Biden -- Joe Biden, his running mate, calls all this higher taxes patriotic. But -- but good old Joe the plumber there in Toledo, Ohio, good old Joe the plumber, he said, after hearing Barack Obama finally, unscripted, having to give a candid answer because Joe just asked a straight-forward question, desiring -- in a photo-op there. Desiring more than a hand shake and a campaign button, he wanted straight talk from a candidate, so he asked a straight answer [SIC].

And he succeeded. He got Barack Obama to finally, in plain language, state his intentions, what he wanted to do with these higher taxes. So Joe the plumber, in hearing all this, he said, "Hmm." To him, it sounds like socialism, and now is not the time to experiment with socialism. They practice that in other countries, where the people are not free.

Now, if we were to go down that path in America, not only would it erode the work ethic that we're trying to pass down to our children, want them to learn. Reward for hard work. Not only that -- not only that but, friends, that path would put us on, it would stifle the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country the greatest country on earth. We cannot afford to let this happen.

So recognizing that our opponent's plan is for bigger government, and too often, government is the problem not the solution. So -- so there is hope, and this is what you've got to tell your friends and your neighbors tomorrow before they hit that voting booth.

There is hope. John and I, we have the complete opposite commitment in all of this. Instead, he's taking more from you, more of your hard-earned money and spreading that wealth. We're going to spread opportunity so that you can create new wealth, create more jobs. That's how our economy will get rolling along again. So Elko, if you share our commitments, and if you work hard, if you know what hard work feels like, and if you want to get ahead, and if you believe that America is the land of possibilities and you don't want your dreams dashed or your children's dreams dashed by the Obama tax plan increases, then Elko, we're asking for your votes.

HOLMES: Again, listening again to Sarah Palin there in Elko, Nevada, at a campaign rally. But on the right, you see another rally. This was taking place in Prescott, Arizona, just north of -- just north of Phoenix. And you see John McCain, making some comments there on the mike, as we've seen some times. She introduces her husband. Sometimes not., but we'll listen in to see what she is doing.

If you'd like to continue to listen in to Sarah Palin, you can go to and continue to listen in to the McCain effort.

But for now, right here on CNN, on TV, we're going to listen to the McCain event.


CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF JOHN MCCAIN: ... fine young men serving on active duty in the military tonight. Between the McCain family and they represent the army, the Navy and the United States Marine Corps. And because of my husband's experience, his leadership and his character, that is what will make him the finest president we have ever seen.

He has lived his life by the code of conduct: duty, honor and country. He has taught our children the same ideals. I am so proud to introduce to you tonight my husband, John McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you. Thank you, Cindy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be back in Arizona. It's great to be home. Seven states today, and the enthusiasm and the momentum that we've received, we're going to win tomorrow. And we're going to beat this. We're going to bring home to Arizona.

My friends, you know, Barry Goldwater, our beloved Barry Goldwater from Prescott, Arizona, used to come up here for every race, including the presidential race in 1964. Another guy that ran for president was a guy named Moe Udall, and he said -- he said -- he used to ask sympathy for the families of the state of Arizona, because Barry Goldwater from Arizona ran for president, and Morris Udall from Arizona ran for president, and Bruce Babbitt from Arizona ran for president.

And I from Arizona ran for president. And he used to say Arizona may be the only state in America where mothers don't tell their children that someday they can grow up and be president of the United States. Tomorrow, we're going to reverse that unhappy tradition, and I'm going to be the president of the United States.

And by the way, I bring greetings from the great governor of the state of Alaska, my running mate, Governor Sarah Palin. And you know, she's been introduced around the country. I can hardly wait to introduce her to Washington, D.C., and the old boy network. And we're going to change things in Washington, and we're going to shake them up.

By the way, her husband, that governor, she calls him first dude. Name is Todd. This guy, a four-time world champion in a snowmobile race across Alaska, 2,000 miles in the middle of winter. One race he won, he had a broken arm and still finished the last 250 miles of the race. This guy can take it in Washington, and so can she. I'm proud of both of them, and I'm proud to have Sarah Palin running with me. And you're going to really like her a lot.

So my friends, could I say thanks to Congressman Shadegg, Congressman Flake and Congressman Trent Franks, our great delegation from Arizona? Thank you all for being here. Thank you.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is with us. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida came with his wife, Kitty. Senator Martinez came to this country at age 15 from Cuba without parents, not speaking a word of English. Now he's a United States Senator. That's America, and I'm proud of him.

Senator Richard Burr and his wife, Brooke, the great state of North Carolina. He's been with us -- he's been with us for a long time, and I'm grateful. Thank you. Thank you, Senator.

And here's a man of political courage, Joe Lieberman, who swept across the aisle, who was there and stood with me when it counted, my friends. And I'm very grateful for Joe Lieberman. And of course, won't Cindy make a great first lady of the United States of America?

So, my friends, it's been a long journey. It's been a long, long journey to get the nomination, and we've got one more day. So I need you to get out the vote, volunteer, do what's necessary so that we not only carry Arizona in a big way but take it all across the country and win the -- win the presidency of the United States.

And I guarantee you, we will bring change to Washington, and we will get this country back on track again. And we will restore our economy. We will keep people in their houses, and we will clean up the corruption and excess and greed in Washington and Wall Street. You have my word on it.

You know, I'm confident, because I've seen the momentum, my friends. I've been in a lot of campaigns, and the momentum we've seen in the last several days, we're closing in the polls. All we've got to do is get out the vote. And you can do it, and I know that you can do it.

And my friends, my friends, this campaign is all about three things: reform, prosperity and peace. And I want to tell you, we will reform the way government does business. And I will veto every single pork barrel, earmark bill that comes across my desk. You will know their names. I will make them famous. No more Bridges to Nowhere. No more $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if those are criminal issue or a paternity issue, but it's not going to happen again.

Can I say, I see in the crowd the fellows with the hats on and the women -- men and women who have served. Please raise your hands so we can thank the veterans who are here tonight. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I salute you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

My friends, prosperity obviously we have to cut taxes. We have to have lower spending. We've got to keep people in their homes. Arizona, along with some other states, has the highest foreclosure rate. We have to give people new mortgages, mortgages that they can afford, and keep them in their homes and realize the American dream. Owning one's home is the American dream. I will keep Americans in their home. We will stop this decline in home values, and we will realize the American dream when I'm president of the United States.

And now may -- and now -- and now, my friends, I just want to say, again, I have been tested. You may have noticed that Senator Biden the other day said to a group of supporters that Senator -- that Senator Barack Obama, if he were president, would be tested in an international crisis within the first six months he was in office. My friends, I've been tested, and I won't be tested by our enemies, because they know me and I know them. And I have been tested, and I will lead this country. And I know how to deal with our enemies, and I know how to deal with our friends.

My friends, keeping this nation secure is our first priority, and I'd like to tell you every once in a while, when political ambitions are -- sort of override things, and we want to win an election, every once in a while, I have an experience that puts everything into the right perspective. And that happened to me a year ago last August in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, at a town hall meeting. And the woman stood up, and she said, "Senator McCain, would you do me the honor of wearing a bracelet with my son's name on it, Matthew Stanley?" Matthew was 22 years old. He was killed in combat outside of Baghdad just before Christmas last year. I said I'd be honored to wear this bracelet, and I have ever since.

And then she said to me, "Senator McCain, I want you to promise me one thing. I want you to promise me you'll do everything in your power to make sure that my son's death was -- was not in vain." I think of her every single day, and I think of all the parents and families who have sacrificed so much in so many wars in defense of this nation. And that's what my job is, is to inspire a generation of Americans to serve a cause greater than their own interests, and that's what I can do. And that's what I will do.

So -- so let me say to you that I want to be president of the United States to do that. And I know there will be times when we disagree on a specific issue, and I know that sometimes that you will say, "What is he thinking about?" But, you know, the one thing I believe that all the years I've been privileged to serve the state of Arizona and in the military, but especially the good people of this state, is I have always put my country first. I promise you, I will put my country first. And I thank you for coming out tonight. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the years you've allowed me to serve the state of Arizona. I thank you. I will never be able to repay you, except to say to you that I will never, ever let you down. And I haven't, and I won't. God bless you. Let's go out and win this election and get our country going again. Thank you. God bless America. It's wonderful to be home.

Thank you.

NGUYEN: And you've been listening to John McCain there, live at a rally in Prescott, Arizona. This is one of several, in fact, on the list today. It is election day. A lot more to come right here on CNN.


HOLMES: And we just saw out there, live in Arizona, in Prescott, Senator John McCain making a speech to a pretty big and pretty rowdy crowd here at this late hour of the night on election day.

Now, our Dana Bash has been following around to a lot of rallies. Dana, you've seen a lot of them. He fired this crowd up, as well. So what's next for this candidate?

BASH: Well, I think -- let me just tell you. I actually have to go get on the bus to get on the plane to go with him. But there's one thing I actually want to mention about the speech that really struck me, and that is that you did not hear the name Barack Obama in this speech here. He mentioned very briefly Joe Biden in the context of the fact that he says he will -- he is somebody who has experience, and he will keep America safe.

But, you know, for the -- the first six events today and over the past several days, we've heard the same speech over and over again. And he's really been trying to contrast his record with Barack Obama's and really has been still pretty aggressive against Barack Obama. Here, this last rally in his home state, in Prescott, here, didn't mention Barack Obama at all. Very interesting. Just basically talked about himself and what he would -- he would have to offer as president.

HOLMES: All right. Well, we appreciate you giving us that nugget. I know you had to go catch a ride on that bus. Just like Greyhound, it will leave you if you're not on time. So Dana, we'll see you soon. Enjoy your election day.

BASH: Thanks.

HOLMES: All right -- Betty.

NGUYEN: And I'd hate for it to be all your fault, T.J.

OK. Let's get some reaction now. We've got a couple in studio guests joining us. From Atlanta's Emory University, Obama supporter and political science professor Andra Gillespie. Also, Baoky Vu, a Republican supporter and fund-raiser based right here in Atlanta. Thanks for being with us at this late hour.

OK. We've listened to a couple of rallies: one from Sarah Palin, the other from John McCain. And looking at this, in the wee hours that's left in this campaign, let me start with you, Andra. Who do you think? Do you think this is going to be close?

GILLESPIE: The polling results suggest that it won't, actually, be close. But then again, anything can happen.

NGUYEN: If you believe the polls at this point in time.

GILLESPIE: I am conservative, and I'm agreeing with the lower end of the polls. So I see polls in the last day that put the spread between 5 and 9 points. It's probably going to be somewhere between 4 and 6 points, more than likely.

And so what the McCain campaign is trying to is it's trying to energize its base of supporters so that it, at 8, 10 a.m. this morning, they're out knocking on doors, trying to get people out so that they can make sure that that margin is as close as possible or so that they can push McCain over the top.

NGUYEN: Yes, there's a lot more time still left. I mean, we've got some 15 hours to go. Baoky, let me ask you this. Do you think it's going to be a big divide here, or is this going to be a close race?

VU: Well, I -- John McCain's been an underdog all his life. He's -- he's come back from almost no -- having no money left to being the Republican nominee. So I'm giving him a pretty good shot. And at least making it an extremely close, if not victorious in a number of the key swing states.

I mean, think about it. As long as he can recover some of these states that George Bush won in 2004, then he's got a good shot at making it extremely close.

NGUYEN: All right. We talked about the popular vote. But let's get, you know, to the states. Because that's what it really boils down to. Does McCain have a shot when it comes to the states? Will this be closer than we think?

VU: Yes.


VU: Yes. Especially Florida, Missouri, Virginia. Pennsylvania, I'm not too sure about. But then it maybe Nevada becomes a little closer, as well. So if -- if things go in the way that our campaign wants it to go, then we can certainly make it extremely competitive and win some of those states to -- to eke this out.

NGUYEN: Andra, I see you ready to jump in here.

GILLESPIE: I don't completely disagree. One of the things that I should mention is that every state that Baoky just mentioned, with the exception of Pennsylvania, voted for George W. Bush in 2004. And that means the McCain campaign is on defense right now. And that's not a good position to be in on election day.

So most of these polls have Obama up by a pretty decent margin, by about 5 percentage points or so. So, barring something really strange happening, or barring there being a Bradley Effect, which most of the extant data right now says really will not be a factor in this election, this campaign is McCain -- is Obama's to lose. And McCain has a real uphill battle ahead.

NGUYEN: Yes, people have been talking, though, about that Bradley Effect, when people in the polling say they will vote one way. But when they actually get in the booth, they do something completely different.

We heard from Sarah Palin tonight. Let me ask you this. Has she helped or hurt McCain?

VU: Overall, I think she's helped John McCain. Now, what I will tell you is that I don't think she's helped him bring over the Hillary vote. I think when John McCain looked for the ideal nominee, he probably ran a screen and said, well, let's see.

We're looking for someone who'd be able to attract the Hillary Clinton vote. Second, is someone who's reform minded. Third screen criteria would perhaps be youth. And she did provide the youth, the vigor, and the reform-minded experience that he's looking for. Now, he -- he did not expect her to not be able to bring in supporters of Hillary Clinton. And that, I think, is key.

The second thing I want to raise is the fact that, in this election, I think the pocketbook has trumped all the other issues, especially in the last six weeks.

NGUYEN: Yes, the economy has been a major issue. Very quickly, back to the same question. Helped or hurt McCain?

GILLESPIE: I think she's a net negative. One of the reasons why I think so is at the beginning, she looked like she would be a net positive. She helped solidify the social conservative base. She energized a group of people, this was going to be a game-changing election on the Republican side by electing a first woman vice president of the United States.

But as her performance went on throughout the campaign, she didn't look like she was prepared to be president. And so in recent polls, 60 percent, almost, of Americans think that she's not qualified to be president. And 40 percent of Americans actually think that this is a negative thing for John McCain and that they've actually looked askance at him for having made that selection.

NGUYEN: Well...

GILLESPIE: So had she done stronger during the election season, I think that this would have been a more formidable ticket than it is right now. NGUYEN: OK. We'll see how it shakes out today. There's still a little time left. A lot of people heading to the polls on this election day. Andra Gillespie and Baoky Vu, thank you so much for being with us.

GILLESPIE: Thank you.


HOLMES: All right, Betty. I'm still having a hard time bringing myself to say it's actually election day now, officially. Well, some people have already had problems at the polls, as they've gone through early voting. Are you having problems? Well, if so, we've got a phone number for you. Stay here.