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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Discussion of the Historic 2008 Presidential Election
Aired November 4, 2008 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: It's Election Day, folks.
BETTY NGUYEN: Yep.
HOLMES: That's why we are here right now.
NGUYEN: Wide awake.
HOLMES: Good morning to you all. T.J. Holmes here at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
NGUYEN: Hello and good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen.
After all of the months of rallies and campaign events across the nation, we have finally arrived at this, the big day, election day, the nation is going to elect a new president in just a matter of 14 hours and 58 minutes.
HOLMES: Yes, and Barack Obama could be one who is the new president. Also John McCain. But Barack Obama, we saw him head back to Chicago. He arrived a bit over an hour ago. We saw that live right here.
On the Republican side, meanwhile, John McCain held an overnight rally in Arizona. I say overnight, it just wrapped up a couple minutes ago so we saw that live as well. Sarah Palin is going to be heading back to Alaska and also the very first votes in this election have already been cast. Millions of them have but some of them have been cast and counted.
We'll give you the results that we have seen from one particular town.
NGUYEN: And the great thing about it, it only took them five minutes to get through the line and it only took them five minutes to get through the line and cast those votes. So we'll tell you about that. You know, the best political team on television is up all night long. CNN's ballot day coverage begins right now.
HOLMES: Yes. We will begin. Sarah Palin. She has had a long day. Right now in Elko, Nevada for a rally there. CNN producer Peter Hamby has had a long day as well because he has been embedded with the Palin campaign. He is on the phone now from that rally site. Peter that rally still going on, and tell us where does she go from here?
PETER HAMBY, CNN PRODUCER (on phone): Well, actually, the rally just finished up and we are getting on a bus to go to the airport here in Elko, the tiny airport and fly through the night to Anchorage. We'll get to Anchorage at 5:30 in the morning and drive up to Wasilla so that Governor Palin can cast the vote for her ticket.
HOLMES: Well, when she gets done in Wasilla, how much time is she going to actually spend there and when she gets done there does she stick around or she is going to bounce right back down to Arizona?
HAMBY: Yeah. Not very long. We're going to fly straight from Wasilla where I hear it's snowing to beautiful Phoenix in the sun so, yeah, it'll be an interesting day tomorrow.
HOLMES: Well, I hope you packed all the appropriate clothes. Shorts and probably a big jacket, sounds strange enough. But what has her day - I know it's been a really long day for her. But what have those stops been like? We've seen she's been able to generate a little more excitement sometimes at her rallies and bigger numbers at her rallies than John McCain, the top of the ticket himself so was that the same theme we saw all day or you saw actually during all her campaign events?
HAMBY: Yeah, absolutely. That's sort of the standard. She out draws John McCain three, four, five times. This morning we have five events - sorry, six events in five states. The crowds varied but there was a massive crowd in Missouri this morning and yes, she's had a very enthusiastic audience as she always does.
HOLMES: All right. Well, our Peter Hamby embedded there with Senator McCain - excuse me, Governor Palin. Excuse me, it's 3:00 in the morning. Give me a break, folks. But Peter Hamby, we appreciate you. Enjoy your travels. Enjoy snowy Wasilla and also sunny Phoenix.
HAMBY: Will do. Thanks.
NGUYEN: A lot to come.
After a heavy day of campaign, Barack Obama is back home in Illinois for yet another rally. This one in Chicago. Earlier in Virginia. Well, that's Obama getting off the plane there at Midway but earlier in Virginia Obama urged everyone to get out and vote and tonight he rallies voters at Chicago's Grant Park.
It is estimated that as many as 65,000 people could be there for that celebration in Grant Park. Well, you know, one of Obama's stops on the last full day of campaigning was Jacksonville, Florida. And our Candy Crowley was there.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the eve of the most political day of his career, the political collided painfully with the personal.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Obviously, this is a little bit of a bittersweet time for me. CROWLEY: On a misty North Carolina everything, Barack Obama told the thousands gathered that his grandmother, who helped raise him, had died. OBAMA: She was somebody who was a very humble person and a very plainspoken person. She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America.
CROWLEY: Obama learned of her death early in the day. But, at his first rally, there was no hint of his loss, just a campaign moving on.
OBAMA: I have just one word for you, Florida: tomorrow.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CROWLEY (voice-over): No accident Barack Obama came to Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville as part of his finale. John McCain was here in September, and there was a pivotal moment that marked the beginning of Obama's pull-away.
OBAMA: He said -- and I quote -- "The fundamentals of our economy are strong."
CROWLEY: The candidate who launched his presidential bid on opposition to the war closes out on the economy. Still, the fundamental premise, the gale-force winds that pushed him forward, is a single word, in ads, speeches, placards: change, and the hope it brings.
OBAMA: It's what led those who could not vote to say, if I march, if I organize, maybe my child or grandchild can run for president some day.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CROWLEY: The Obama campaign has always dreamed big, seeking from the start to be less of a campaign, more of a movement.
OBAMA: If you will stand with me and fight with me, I promise you, we will not just win Florida. We will win this election. You and I together, we will change this country. We will change the world.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HOLMES: All right. A lot of you all have been casting those early votes. We won't know the results of some of that early voting until later on tonight but there is some early voting that too place at midnight three hours ago. We do know the results of that. Barack Obama has won in Dixville Notch. Yes. He emerged victorious there. That tiny little town in New Hampshire. Only 21 people actually voted in this election. Fifteen of those votes as you see on the board went to Barack Obama, six to John McCain. We always see this election years. This tiny town gets a whole lot of attention because they do vote and give the results right at midnight but this is the first time since 1968 since this village leaned Democratic in an election.
NGUYEN: Well, we are on around the clock and you can watch history unfold with the best political team on television from the first vote to the last one. Our team will bring it all to you all day, all night. Stay with CNN. This is your home for politics.
HOLMES: And a big part of this campaign we saw some ads talking about it's 3:00 in the morning and the phone rings at the White House. That phone was a red phone. We have a red phone here as well.
I don't know who answers our red phone.
NGUYEN: It's not us because it would just be ringing off the hook.
HOLMES: A lot of potential voter problems out there are coming into our red phone and a lot of you all are sharing them and that is not a good thing that that phone is ringing so much. We'll give you some details coming up in just a few minutes. Stay here.
HOLMES: Well, Barack Obama, a lot of rallies as of late and he had one last night as well in Manassas, Virginia. The senator urged everybody to get out and vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So, Virginia, I just have one word for 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 that 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 pits region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat.
That asks 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 starts here in Virginia. It starts here in Manassas. This is where change begins.
We began this journey in the depths of winter on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln served there for many years. Back then we didn't have much money or many endorsements. We weren't given much of a 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 challenges had 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 in common as Americans. I was convinced that when we come together our voices are more powerful than the most entrenched lobbyists or the most vicious political attacks or the full force of a 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 American, Virginia, starting tomorrow.
NGUYEN: Yeah, tonight Obama goes to Chicago to Grant Park for an event there. It's estimated as many as 65,000 people could be at that event.
The CNN voter hotline has received calls from across the country as more and more people worry that their votes won't be counted. Our Josh Levs has news in a reported scam in fact where voters are told to vote at the wrong place. Is this really happening?
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's what we're being told. There have been reports about this kind of thing happening but it's obviously illegally to intentionally mislead anyone about where to vote. We want people to be aware. Here is what we heard from a caller in Ohio. A key swing state.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JULIA MCIVER, COLUMBUS, OHIO: My problem is that someone called my home and told me that my voting place had changed and when I called my committeemen, it hadn't changed. And I'm a senior citizen so I'd like them to get it out on the news that the simple fact that people are doing that, saying that your voting area has changed.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LEVS: Well, it's getting out. We have no way of knowing who might have called her to say that but if anyone anywhere gets a call like that, you should contact state election officials themselves to make sure they know where to vote and alert the authorities about calls like that.
Anyone trying to mislead voters that way should be tracked down and prosecuted. And guys, this is one of the many concerns we're hearing at the hotline, people calling throughout the night. Take a look at this interactive map here from cnn.com. I want to show you a few things. First of all we tell you about situations being reported in every state but let me quickly go over to the numbers here. We're going to scroll to the right. Oh whoops. I clicked on Florida by mistake. We should be able to scroll over to the right and see the totals. There you go.
National complaints. Look at these numbers, more than 34,000. Now, when I was just on the air about an hour ago, it was 33,000. So we've logged more than 1,000 in that time. About a third of them are complaints. There are some people saying, where do I vote? But a third of them are complaints. People saying that there is something seriously wrong. Let's zoom over here a little bit on Ohio which is where we were just looking at. This is how many complaints we've had in Ohio. Four hundred sixty nine, just complaint calls in Ohio.
So clearly there is a lot of issues across the country. We love to hear from you. We're asking you to help us track these voting problems. We're reporting them in real time right here. Let's give everyone that number. 1-877-462-6608. 1-877-GOCNN-08.
And also be sure to check out this Web site here if you want to see it. Just go to cnn.com. Click on "Voter Hotline" at the very top. Can't miss it. It will talk you through all sorts of problems in different states across the country. Certainly encourage you to check that out and let us know what you're seeing because we're keeping them honest all the way through the election and beyond, guys. People who vote tomorrow and anyone who has issues and want to report after that.
We expect to keep doing this all week long based on what we hear.
NGUYEN: All right. On top of it. Thank you.
LEVS: Thanks a lot, guys.
NGUYEN: Here in the final hours of the campaign the polls, they are tightening. So who is ahead in the key battleground states. We're going to do the crunching of the numbers next.
NGUYEN: Alaska's personnel board has cleared Governor Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner. Now that actually contradicts an earlier probe by the state legislature which concluded that she in fact unlawfully abused her power by trying to get her sister's ex-husband fired from the State Police.
Allegations surfaced that Palin sacked the commissioner because he refused to fire that state trooper. Palin's attorney says his client is pleased with the personnel board's findings.
Meanwhile, Governor Palin nearing the end of a campaign swing through five contested states. Here she is now. Listen to her firing up supporters at a rally in Elko, Nevada. Certainly an important state for the Republican ticket. We just heard from her last hour.
GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 light's being shown on it. Every few days now we're getting a new definition of what he considers the middle class. He promises not to raise taxes on the middle class.
You know he promises not to raise taxes on first it was those make $250,000 a year. And then it went down to $200,000 a year. Then dropped down to $150,000. And then just the other day it was all the way down to if you make $120,000 a year or under then you won't be slammed with the tax increase.
All those changes still not realizing though small businesses are in that category and small businesses are the economy engine in all of our communities. He doesn't get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, Democratic vice presidential contender Joe Biden has been rallying Democrats in South Philadelphia just miles from his home state of Delaware. Biden called for strengthening the middle class and uniting the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe with greater confidence than ever before that we're on the cusp of a new era in American leadership, ladies and gentlemen. This election is not about Barack. It's not about me. It's not about Sarah Palin or John McCain. It's about you and now it's up to you. It's up to you to take back this country. It's in your hands.
In less than 24 hours, we'll know who the next leader of the free world is and, ladies and gentlemen, I know, America knows that Pennsylvania's going to decide the next president of the United States of America and it will be Barack Obama! Barack Obama!
Look, folks. We made the case for change. John McCain has made his case for continuing the status quo. When it comes to the economy and foreign policy, there is literally no fundamental difference between John and George W. Bush. You know, I love it when McCain, when John McCain and Sarah Palin stand up there and they look at each other and they go, hey, maverick. Hey, maverick. Well, as a senator of this state, Bobby Casey says, you can't call yourself a maverick when all you've been in the last eight years is a sidekick.
So folks, the sidekicks are going to find out about Pennsylvania tomorrow. They're going to find out. But you know, if you give Barack and me the honor of serving as your next president and vice president of the United States, we'll commit to you in real simple plain terms, every waking moment of our administration will be directed to two things, one, restoring the middle class in America that's got the living devil beat out of them. And two, reclaiming respect for America and the rest of the world. And the first thing we'll do in reclaiming that leadership is to end this war in Iraq.
And end it we will and we'll end it responsibly. Ladies and gentlemen, in rebuilding the middle class is not rocket science. We can't wait until January 20th, God willing, when we're sworn in. Too many people, too many people are getting hurt right now. And now's the time we have to act.
Barack Obama and I believe when the Congress goes back in November, we have to put a three-month moratorium on all housing foreclosures. We got to stop it now. And folks, I promise you one thing. And South Philly and Philly understands this, and Barack Obama is all about it. And that is, we'll embrace the single most enduring American belief that every generation before us has understood and that is we don't have to accept things the way we are. We can bend history to our own making.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, throughout this campaign we've been bringing you CNN polls and many others and in the last couple weeks Obama has been on top. Our deputy political director Paul Steinhauser joins us now from New York. OK, Paul, in the early hours of Election Day because it was indeed Election Day, we're finally here.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, we made it.
NGUYEN: What are the polls showing?
STEINHAUSER: Well, let's take a look. Let's take a look starting nationally, Betty, because we'll get the big picture first and then we'll go into states. Take a look at our latest CNN national poll of polls. This is where we average the latest surveys across the country and you can see Barack Obama, according to our compilation here, has a seven point advantage, 51 percent to 44 percent. This is kind of consistent. He's been anywhere from about five to nine points up over McCain over the last three to four weeks and this is - take a look at these numbers because they're interesting. A lot of pollsters will tell you 51 percent is interesting because he is over 50 percent.
But still, five percent of voters if you average all the polls, still undecided, Betty, at this very, very late date.
NGUYEN: Yeah, it does seem pretty close. OK. So let's break down the battleground states. The all important battleground states starting in the Midwest. How do the look?
STEINHAUSER: Yup. And you're right because it is all about the states. This is not a national beauty contest, a national popular vote contest at all. It's about the states and their electoral votes. Let's go to Ohio. It seems like both candidates basically were living in Ohio lately. They both have spent so much time there. Right now our latest poll of polls in Ohio suggests that Barack Obama has a slight lead in Ohio. Three points according to this. But that's basically a dead heat. Why is Ohio so important? Twenty electoral votes. This is the state that put George Bush over the top four years ago. This is a state John McCain needs to keep in the Republican camp if he wants to win the White House.
One state over to the west, Indiana. This state hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since 1964. Barack Obama was just here the other day. He is going back, today, Election Day. John McCain was just passing through. Basically a dead heat again and take a look at that seven percent of voters still undecided.
Missouri voted for George Bush in 2000 and in 2004. Again, that's as close as you can get, 47-47. You can't get any closer than that.
Pennsylvania. You just saw Joe Biden from that clip you were playing in Pennsylvania. You know John McCain and Sarah Palin have spent 10 out of the last 15 days in Pennsylvania. Why? I think their campaign realizes they may lose some of the states that Bush won four years ago, they need to steal a big one back. Pennsylvania, 21 electoral votes. That's a big one. But Barack Obama retains an eight point lead according to the latest average of the polls there in Pennsylvania.
So that's kind of been some of their strategy, trying to win Pennsylvania back. Are they successful? We'll find out tomorrow but they still trail by eight points according to our polls.
NGUYEN: Yeah and it's more than just the Midwest. Let's talk about Florida and North Carolina, Virginia. Where do they stand?
STEINHAUSER: Florida, both candidates started Monday and I guess that's yesterday. I'm not even sure what day it is anymore.
NGUYEN: It's hard to tell at this early hour.
STEINHAUSER: Yeah. But they both started in Florida. Florida, we can't say how important Florida is. Twenty seven electoral votes. We can't say much - enough how important it is. It was the state that as you remember gave George Bush the presidency in 2000.
He won by five points four years ago. Right now Barack Obama is up but not by much. Forty-eight to 46 percent according to these latest average of the polls. That's basically a dead heat.
Besides Florida, let's move a little further to the north. North Carolina. A state that hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter 1976.
STEINHAUSER: Basically pretty tight there.
And we'll go one more state to the north, Virginia. Hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since 1964. Barack Obama has been leading in the polls there for quite some time. He is about five points up according to our latest average, Betty.
NGUYEN: Yeah, but if you put in those undecideds, those unsures, all of them just seem really tight. Let's talk about Nevada because we saw John McCain talking in Arizona but Sarah Palin really focusing on Nevada tonight. How does it look there?
STEINHAUSER: Yep. Nevada, she was just there. That was her last stop before heading to Alaska. Take a look at these numbers and they are interesting. Barack Obama has a lead, he is about five points up. Of course, as you can see there, seven percent of voters in Nevada still undecided. Betty, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, three western states that all voted for George Bush four years ago. Three western states where Barack Obama is ahead in the polls.
And again, he's ahead in these polls but not by that much. So if people think this election is over, it is not over. He may be ahead, John McCain may be behind, but it's still close enough that anything can happen.
NGUYEN: Yeah. It is not so. Not for those folks who think, hey it's a done deal. You'd better get to the polls because it may not turn out the way you want if you don't cast your ballot. All right, Paul Steinhauser joining us live on this early, early morning. 3:33 out here in the East. Thank you, Paul.
STEINHAUSER: Thank you.
HOLMES: This is the time comes into the club anyway, so no big deal.
NGUYEN: Yeah, right.
HOLMES: Coping in the campaign trail.
Barack Obama actually has been out there and we saw some poignant moments from this man, dealing with a family matter. We'll bring you the details of him really mourning a woman who is very important in his life. Stay here.
HOLMES: Well, Barack Obama dealing with a family tragedy on this Election Day. His grandmother has died after a battle with cancer. Madeline Dunham is her name. She was 86 years old. He calls her Toot. That's short for the Hawaiian word for grandmother. Obama has repeatedly talked about her on the campaign trail and what a key figure she was in his life.
At a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, he talked about her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Some of you heard that my grandmother who helped raised me passed away early this morning. And look, she has gone home. And she died peacefully in her sleep with my sister at her side and so there is great joy as well as tears. I'm not going to talk about it too long because it's hard a little to talk about.
I want everybody to know a little bit about her. Her name is Madeline Dunham. And she was born in Kansas in a small town in 1922. Which means that she lived through the Great Depression, she lived through two (ph) world wars. She watched her husband go off to war while she looked after her baby and worked on a bomber assembly line.
When her husband came back they benefited from the GI Bill and they moved west and eventually ended up in Hawaii and she was somebody who was a very humble person and a very plain-spoken person. She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America who -- they're not famous. Their names aren't in the newspapers. But each and every day they work hard. They look after their families. They sacrifice for their children and their grandchildren. They aren't seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing.
And in this crowd, there are a lot of quiet heroes like that -- mothers and fathers, grandparents who have worked hard and sacrificed all their lives. And the satisfaction that they get is seeing that their children -- and maybe their grandchildren or their great- grandchildren -- live a better life than they did.
That's what America is about. That's what we're fighting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Senator John McCain sent his condolences to the Obama family before returning home to Arizona for a final campaign push outside Phoenix. Now, McCain had set out across seven battleground states as polls have him still trailing his Democratic rival. His Arizona rival was held on the steps of a historic courthouse where Barry Goldwater launched his campaign for the White House decades ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: OK. So it may sound impossible but it is not. What happens in case of, I almost had to say the word, a tie? Hopefully it doesn't get to that, but hey it could happen and our senior political analyst has the answer.
HOLMES: Hey, let me start by saying this isn't likely to happen but we've got time here from 1:00 to 5:00 in the morning so we thought we'd throw this in here. What happens if we have a tie in the Electoral College. Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider takes a look at the 269 to 269 scenario.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Halloween may be over, but another scary scenario could be lurking. The electoral vote could end up tied, 269 for McCain, 269 for Obama. Suppose Barack Obama carries all the states John Kerry carried in 2004 plus Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada. Result? A tie. Suppose Obama takes all the Kerry States except New Hampshire, plus three former Bush states, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado. The result? A tie. Crisis? Not necessarily.
The Constitution spells out what to do. The new Congress counts the electoral votes in January just like just like in 2001.
REP. CORRINE BROWN, (D) FL: I stand objecting to the count from the State of Florida as read.
SCHENIDER: The result? A tie. Then what? Then the newly elected House of Representatives chooses the new president. Each state gets one vote. 53 California representatives get one vote. The single representative from Alaska gets one vote. In the current house, Democrats hold the majority in 27 states, Republicans in 21 with two states tied. So it looks good for Obama, assuming Democrats hold or increase their house majority.
Some representatives will be under pressure to ignore their party and vote the way their state voted.
ALAN SILVERLEIB, CNN POLITICAL RESEARCHER: In Delaware, Mike Castle, the long-time congressman, his state is almost certainly going to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket. Is he going to risk the wrath of his constituents by voting for John McCain if the election goes to the House of Representatives?
SCHNEIDER: Has the election ever gone to the house before? Yes. And it wasn't pretty.
SILVERLEIB: In 1824. And ultimately critics of the election charge that there was a corrupt bargain reached in the House whereby the speaker of the House, Henry Clay, threw his support behind John Quincy Adams and after Adams entered office, then he appointed Clay as secretary of state.
SCHNEIDER: A corrupt bargain to elect a president, pretty scary.
(on camera): What if a state's House delegation is tied? The state can abstain. It takes 26 states to elect a new president. If a lot of states abstain the House has to keep on voting. And if the House can't pick a new president by January 20th, when George W. Bush expires? Then the new vice president becomes acting president.
Now wait a minute, who picks the new vice president? The new Senate. Which each senator casting one vote. If the Democrats increase their majority in the Senate, meet interim President Joe Biden. Bill Schneider, CNN, New York.
NGUYEN: All right. So did you get all that? OK. Take this into consideration. Why don't you just go ahead and vote today. Make sure that vote counts and maybe we won't have that 269-269 scenario.
All right. Real election results, real fast. We are going to show you how to follow all your favorite races right on your laptop.
HOLMES: Well, all right. They are talking the talk. Are they going to walk the walk? To the polls? Yeah, you young first time voters, you say you will, but will you really? Here now is CNN's David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What will young voters really do? It's an urgent question and one of the great unknowns of this election. Historically, they are enthusiastic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're off to the polls.
MATTINGLY: But they don't turn out to vote in a big way. In polls, young people prefer Obama almost 2-1, and that's why whether or not they vote means so much to both Obama and McCain.
(on camera): Do you feel like your vote is being asked for this time?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely.
JEFF CHEN, UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Like you just walk here (INAUDIBLE) every single day, you'll be hounded by people, like -- they're like, have you voted yet? I was like, that's the tenth time you asked me that. I remember that last week so like, when you see students like just out on the corner at 8:00 in the morning while you're walking to class, you know people are serious about this campaign.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): There are more than 874,000 newly registered voters here in North Carolina, fully one-third, nearly 300,000 are under the age of 25. Expectations are high.
HEATHER SMITH, EXEC. DIRECTOR ROCK THE VOTE: I think you're really seeing the most impact that you'll see from -- that we've ever seen from the youth population.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Who's going to win North Carolina?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain. MATTINGLY (voice-over): The students I talked to do seem motivated and perhaps, surprisingly, focused on issues like health care and the economy.
(on camera): Do you know who you sound like? You sound like your parents.
(voice-over): But the great unknown when looking at the big picture, will they actually vote?
PETER LEVINE, C.I.R.C.L.E.: Young people today, not just college students, young people volunteer, do community service at rate -- a record rate, a rate higher than their parents and a rate that we've never seen before.
MATTINGLY (on camera): And the candidates know it. Campaign signs have appeared on campus by the dozens. Representatives of both parties have been here passing out sample ballots. All of them betting that this new generation of voters will turn out in numbers that will make a difference.
(voice-over): If that happens, it may signal the beginning of a new wave of activism. J.J. RAYNOR, UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Not only do we recognize the importance of the vote, we also recognize how important it is to go beyond that in terms of connecting with our peers, sharing our opinions and making sure that we're as present outside of the voting booth as we are inside of it.
MATTINGLY: But without large numbers at the polls, this new generation of voters could join previous waves of first timers who passed on making history. David Mattingly, CNN, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
NGUYEN: All right. So tracking the election on the Web. Cnn.com is making it easy for you to follow along on this historic election day. Here is Internet correspondent Abbi Tatton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBI TATTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are now in the final days of this presidential election. And if you want to know where the candidates are spending their time, where they're spending their money, how they're doing in the latest polls, you want to check here. This is CNN's election tracker. CNN.com/tracker. We've mapped all that information so you can see the stories so far.
Let's take a look first of all at candidate visits. This is a sure fire way to see which states are deemed critical to these campaigns is having a look at how often the candidates are visiting them. We put that information on a time lapse. It's going back to the middle of June. As the states darken, it means the candidates are visiting them more and more.
If we go through the beginning of October here, you can see the battleground states light up and as we go through to the end of October, Ohio, Pennsylvania darkened to be the states most visited. That's how much time they've been spending in the states but they've also been spending a lot of money on ads in those states, as well.
This is where you're going to see a real disparity between John McCain's spending and Barack Obama's. Barack Obama with this massive campaign war chest. This is John McCain's map right here. The darker the state, the more money he's spending. More than 10 million in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Now take a look at that and compare that to this one. This is Barack Obama's spending. You will see so much more of it is colored in darker, all these states where he's spending more than $10 million and if we look at some of the comparisons there, in Virginia, Barack Obama's spending $18 million, compare that to $6 million for John McCain. There's a wealth of information on this tracker. Take a look around. Polling, fundraising. We're updating this all the time as we get new information. So please check back.
I'm Abbi Tatton in the CNN Election Center.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: All right. "Monday Night Football," I don't know if you got to catch any of the game last night when the Washington Redskins hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now we're not doing this just because we've decided we want to be ESPN here and give you some football highlights. Actually this has a very nice political tie in because ever since 1936 when Washington won the game before Election Day the incumbent party kept power for presidential election. Yes, with 17 straight elections now, with the exception of '04, um, if Washington wins, the incumbent stays in the power.
So who won?
NGUYEN: Yeah. Who did win last night?
HOLMES: Washington lost.
HOLMES: So if you go along with history that means that the incumbent party should lose the White House which means Obama should win if you believe such things.
NGUYEN: But there was that exception in '04. So who knows, folks, just go to the polls today.
In the meantime, Obama, McCain, Palin, Biden. We are hearing from all of them and so will you. CNN's around the clock coverage continues on this historic Election Day.