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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Americans Choose a President

Aired November 6, 2012 - 14:00:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST (voice-over): A political thriller playing out in the United States, two men, one job, months campaigning, billions of dollars spent. Now it's in the hands of the American people. Voting is brisk. There are live pictures of polling in Miami, Florida, one of the key battleground states. It's the U.S. presidential race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: And a very good day to you. It is 2 o'clock in the afternoon in the east. Welcome to the special coverage of Election Day, decision time, decision day. The so-called swing states could play a huge role and voting is brisk in all those key states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST (voice-over): Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, we're live in those key battleground states.

Also ahead in this hour, the jobs question, the election could come down to just one question: who do voters think has the best plan to put America back at work? Now we're already hearing that voting isn't smooth; it may be brisk, but it's not as smooth as it might be in some parts of the United States. (Inaudible) should be.

Ali?

ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Yes --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: You're manning the --

VELSHI: The vote watch desk.

QUEST: Vote watch? What does that mean?

VELSHI: Not voter watch. We're watching how voting is going. And basically the problems are falling into three categories. One is volume, lineups, taking a long time to vote.

Number two is machines not working properly or ballots not being there, sort of technical problems that are not sort of fraudulent.

And number three are those issues that some would call voter suppression, laws that have been passed or things that are happening that where people go to vote and for some non-technical reason, they're not allowed to vote. They're not permitted to cast a ballot.

QUEST: Are you seeing reports or are you hearing reports -- obviously, volume, we know, is very high. But of machines not working?

VELSHI: Yes.

QUEST: SNAFUs, all of that --

VELSHI: Most of them are resolved. Most of these things happen in the morning; they found out there were glitches. In some counties, they've absolutely just given up on the machines and gone back to paper ballots, which begs the question, why that doesn't happen more often. I mean, there are just -- there are lots of problems.

But remember, most ballots get passed with no problems. So the errors are being fixed. So there are remaining issues about people who feel they're entitled to vote, not getting the right to vote.

QUEST: This is all about things like closing hours, reducing the number of hours. But fundamentally, is what's happening in Ohio and Florida a fair ballot and a fair day's election?

VELSHI: It all depends on how close it is. If it's not close, then it's fair. If it's close, then everybody's going to be worrying about --

(CROSSTALK)

VELSHI: -- did you disenfranchise my voters by taking the advance polling from 14 days to eight days and causing lineups so that working people couldn't stick around for six or seven hours to vote. That's going to be an argument lawyers make.

In Ohio, the right kind of ID and what people have to do to vote, Pennsylvania, for instance, has a law where you don't have to provide voter ID, but poll workers can ask you to. So people are getting asked for ID, not having the right ID, we're hearing that they're walking away, even though they could vote. So everything becomes interesting if it's close. If it's not close, we won't be worrying.

QUEST: And those provisional ballots that you're just talking about - -

VELSHI: In Ohio, yes.

QUEST: -- in Ohio. If it's close tonight, and judging by the last numbers of 200,000, wasn't it?

VELSHI: There were 200,000 provisional ballots, which don't get counted tonight; they get set aside because it's like if you get pulled over and your headlight's not working in your car, sometimes the police say you've got 10 days to get it fixed and report to us that it's done. That's what a provisional ballot is. You cast it and you've got 10 days to come back and say this is me; I'm entitled to vote.

Then it gets counted 10 days after the election. So they won't get counted tonight. But let's say there's 200,000 of them and the margin of victory in Ohio is narrower than that, then we got a dispute on our hands.

QUEST: Send any emails and questions on voter irregularity to him, not to me.

VELSHI: If you're voting somewhere else, then that's already (inaudible) --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Well, no, no, that's -- I'm happy to have that. Just send them all.

VELSHI: Yes.

QUEST: Ali --

VELSHI: Good to see you. We'll be busy today.

QUEST: We will. Thank you very much.

Ali Velshi, who is not at the voter watch, but at the vote watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST (voice-over): After 14 hours of campaigning, Mitt Romney is using every last second to reach the voters before the polls close. The first polls will close in just a few hours from now, about 4-5 hours from now.

This morning he voted alongside his wife, Ann, in Belmont, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. Then he was back on the campaign trail, Ohio, with his running mate, Paul Ryan, a few hours later. He's there to thank campaign volunteers. No Republicans? You must be tired of hearing this statistic.

No Republicans ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. He'll go to Pennsylvania, where he's hoping to actually have a bit of an electoral upset and take the state.

If you needed proof that Ohio's very much in play, here's Joe Biden making a surprise visit to Cleveland -- I do beg your pardon. We're not expecting any last-minute campaign stops from the vice president. He arrived there a few hours ago on Air Force Two.

Those are the still pictures, I believe, of Mr. Romney and the Romney plane. But behind the Romney plane, there's the Biden plane. There you are. You see it just in the distance. And he's ended up being parked on the same taxiway, almost, as Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. You can see the two of them, the two jets almost nose to back.

Our Jim Acosta was there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the most amazing sights of this election, of campaign 2012, take a look at this behind me one more time. Mitt Romney's campaign plane, Paul Ryan's campaign plane parked side by side. We sort of knew that was going to happen today, the campaign told us yesterday that Mitt Romney is coming to Ohio and then late last night Paul Ryan was coming to Ohio.

But then off in the distance, this is the surprise nobody expected, that Vice President Joe Biden would be landing in Cleveland on Air Force Two, and there is his plane in the background, being bracketed, you might say, by the Romney and Ryan planes.

So some aircraft bracketing in addition to the political bracketing that has been happening during this very, very long campaign that is finally now coming to a conclusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST (voice-over): And he's already cast his vote early, the president was expected to keep a low profile. Instead, he made an unannounced stop at a campaign office in Chicago. Our Dan Lothian's there at the president's election headquarters.

There's a lot of ground to cover, Dan, so, first of all, this unannounced stop and the unannounced call and speaking to somebody, how staged was it?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it was not on the schedule, so that was not something that planned ahead of time; certainly it was something that the campaign felt they wanted the cameras to see, which was the president reaching out to supporters, volunteers, who have been working very hard for his campaign and to offer some encouragement as they push in these final hours.

What they're trying to do very hard is to make sure that as many people as possible get the word and get out to the polls.

In fact, just a short time ago, I received an email from a top senior campaign official, sort of ticking off in all of the various battleground states some of the efforts by seniors, by veterans, by young people, who were either giving people rides to the polls or were going door-to-door, were doing some kind of effort to get out the vote. That is where they believe this race will be won.

They're very confident, but they still believe that folks need to get out to the polls, because this is such a tight race, Richard.

QUEST: The president speaking at that poll, at that campaign headquarters.

There was a -- I hesitate to say overconfidence, but there was a definite air of a man who believes he's won.

LOTHIAN: Well, yes, I mean, he would never say that, because first of all, you want to make sure that people still go out to the polls. But there is this growing sense of confidence and optimism not only from the president but among the campaign as well.

The reason for that is because they believe that they've had an effective ground game that was in place from back in 2008; they still had that infrastructure. They've built on that. So they're very confident in that ground game.

But I'll tell you what, you know, we did see a little crack in that shield from the president. He conducted several telephone interviews, satellite interviews as well, one of them done yesterday with Ryan Seacrest that actually aired today. The president talked about having some butterflies about the outcome tonight. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think anybody who's running for office would be lying if they say that there's not some butterflies before the polls come in, because anything can happen. That's the -- that's the magic of democracy, is that it's up to the people to decide.

But at a certain point, you get calm, because you know, if you've done everything you can do, then the process is working the way it's supposed to, which is the power now resides with individual voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LOTHIAN: And so the president there, saying anything can happen. The Romney campaign hoping that that anything means that their candidate wins when all the votes are counted tonight, Richard.

QUEST: But not counting anything until the last possible (inaudible). Dan Lothian, who is in Chicago, and actually, Dan, do you -- before -- has he gone? Has he gone? No, he's still there.

You're still there.

Dan, is it your gut feeling that it goes long and late tonight? Or is it all over by time -- come on. What time do you think it all is over?

LOTHIAN: You know, if I had the answer to that, I would not be sitting here, because I'd be able to predict, you know, who's going to win the lottery. I would play the lottery and would be retired (inaudible) somewhere.

Look, what I can say is that this will be a very, very tight race, right down to the end. We've seen it over the last few weeks. There hasn't been a lot of fluctuation either tied up in these battleground states or the president up by just a bit. So I think it will go down to the wire. It could go long. I can't predict what it will be, but it will certainly be interesting.

QUEST: Dan, that's exactly the answer I always give when people ask me if I think the stock market's going up or down. I always say, if you think I knew the answer to that, you think I'd be doing this?

Dan Lothian, who's in Chicago.

By the way, if you've got an idea of what time you think -- not Dan -- you, our viewer, has got an idea of what time you think the result -- what time -- what time you think CNN will call the results, what time you think we'll call it, after the (inaudible) your call, then tweet me @RichardQuest.

Be interesting to see how you think it's going to go, @RichardQuest. We'll bring that Twitter address up before the hour is out, but what time you think the result is going to be called by this network, CNN.

More than 6 million Americans, they've a broad double the population of the swing state of Iowa. Now you could get them all, these are live pictures of a election watch party taking place in Paris. There are parties in Paris, in Berlin, in London and we will be at them all in just a moment.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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QUEST: The markets, the U.S. markets are open. Oh, steady, steady. All this electoral excitement. There will be a little bit much, not only in the election itself but also the market numbers, Dow up 150 points, (inaudible) 13,262. The race for the White House is extremely close. Wall Street clearly preferred Romney over Obama.

Maggie Lake is with us from the New York Stock Exchange.

Maggie, look, I know 150 is not a huge rip-roaring rally, and it's probably as weak as a Scotch mist. But why is it such a rally when there is -- in this current sort of deadlocked race?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Richard, maybe it's wishful thinking. And you're right. You're not going to get anyone down here to tell you exactly who they want. But I think you can tell from the action.

And, listen, no matter how many (inaudible) are going to be on the sideline, you know that they're going to try to (inaudible) position ahead of it. So maybe that gives you a little hint. But when we talk to people again and again, what keeps coming up is not who wins, but what they do about the fiscal cliff.

Let's talk to Kenny Polcari again, who we've been talking to all day.

Kenny, why is it that every time I talk to you guys about how to trade this, who you think is going to win, the fiscal cliff comes up? Why is that?

KEN POLCARI, TRADER: Well, because, listen, it's a very big issue, the fiscal cliff. And no one's done anything about it. And the fact is, it's looming, right? Everyone knows it's there and everyone's quite concerned about it.

You saw maybe two weeks ago, we had the 100 CEO organization that just started, deals around the country, that have now written letters down to Washington. And tomorrow they're going to almost carpetbag down in D.C. because --

LAKE: But nothing's been done to this point. Why -- no matter who wins, Romney or Obama, what makes you guys think that this election is going to make a difference with that?

POLCARI: It's not that the election's going to make a difference. It's that nothing was getting done because of the election, right? No one was in D.C. Everyone's campaigning. If this wasn't an election year, this problem would have been dealt with much sooner. But because of this election year, nothing's been put off. It's been put off because they've all been worried about keeping their own jobs.

And that's what the problem is.

LAKE: Now, I know you guys like to try to position ahead of these things. It's very hard to tell, it's such a tight race. Is it too soon to be talking about what sectors might benefit if Romney wins versus Obama?

POLCARI: Well, you know, they've been talking about the different sectors, because they've been playing that game, right? The question is, do you -- do you jump in today ahead of the election? You know, if you haven't done it by this point, I mean, if you want to make the bet, you're going to make the bet, right?

If you think that Romney's going to win, you're going to jump into defensive type names, right, even industrial names, because there's going to be a lot of rebuilding, not only in this country but around the world, once we get through this problem. And so those names are going to benefit.

If you're going to play the Obama card and you think that Obama's going to win, then you're going to stay with the health care names; you're going to stay with the safer names that, you know, typically you would under a Democratic leadership, under a Democratic president, right?

LAKE: That's what's always worrying about the wild card, always worried about that and sort of how to protect against the worst-case scenario. What are we looking at here? What's the wild card?

POLCARI: The wild card is that we don't get an answer tonight, right? And that just drags on like it did back in 2000. This could drag on for days, two days, three days.

QUEST: All right.

POLCARI: That's going to be the wild card.

QUEST: Maggie?

POLCARI: That's going to throw every -- a cloud right over the -- right over the picture.

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE: OK. And that's what we've been hearing --

QUEST: Hang on, hang on, hang on --

LAKE: -- people think that's not priced in.

QUEST: Ask Ken what time he thinks we'll call the election tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

LAKE: Richard's so concerned about his working day, which we know we don't believe -- he's a workaholic. He wants to know what time we think we call the election, how late do you think this is going to go?

POLCARI: I think this is actually going to go late tonight, because I think it's going to be very, very close. So I don't think you're going to get -- it's not going to be so cut and dried. They're not going to be able to say at 8 o'clock tonight, you know, it's one or the other. I think we're going to be watching this well into the night.

LAKE: And, Richard, I know Dan Lothian was playing it close to the chest, but I'm going to agree with Ken, too. We saw all the voting issues --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Give me a time.

LAKE: -- right to the end, way past my bedtime, Richard.

I got to go find where to vote. I don't even know where I can vote. I have no power. So that's going to be an issue, too, in this tri-state area.

QUEST: Maggie Lake, Ken Polcari, I tried. I tried to get a real-life time out of each of them. And they just sat on the fence.

Talking of what's happening elsewhere in the world, because what happens in this country affects everywhere else, let's look at the live pictures. There's a party in Berlin. Now it is only a quarter past 8:00 there. So I'm suspecting they're just getting going in a big way over the next few hours. We'll be in all these cities after the break. It's our election coverage, Election Day. I just love that.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney is a very good anchor (ph) and he has shown his real face in the past. And the president's social reforms from Barack Obama and things he was (inaudible) to our next German chancellor (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama (inaudible) during his term but he couldn't fulfill all his promises. And I think that Romney's -- he has a great character and he is strong and he has experience and he can -- he can rule the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like Romney that much. I prefer Obama because he's more for the middle class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion, the elections need too much money in times of crisis, so it's quite weird how much money the presidents or the future presidents require for the elections in times of a crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Across Europe, well, across the world, parties are getting underway in embassies, hotels, in companies, all across the globe as people are waiting for the results. We have our correspondents. We've got people -- Jim Bittermann is watching in Paris; Becky is in London and Fred is in Berlin.

We start with you, Jim, from the headquarters of the luxury goods group LVMH. I'll bet they pour a good glass, as people celebrate.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not so bad, Richard. And the party's really getting rolling now. The prime minister was on TV a little earlier, and I think a lot of people waited to see him on TV Now it's the turn of those who want to see what happens on our television sets about who's going to be elected President of the United States.

I've got with me Helene Conway-Mouret, who's a deputy minister of foreign affairs in the new Hollande government.

And Helene (ph), I just (inaudible) to ask you, do you think that (inaudible) much interested in what's happening in the United States and why?

HELENE CONWAY-MOURET, DEPUTY MINISTER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Well, of course, they're interested. Whoever is elected tonight is going to have an impact on the rest of the world and it's -- you know, it's a global village (inaudible). And I think, you know, there is excitement here (inaudible) in this room. And anybody in politics (inaudible) myself feel that, you know, there is deep suspense and there is excitement tonight.

BITTERMANN: Do you see a difference in foreign policy between these two men, between Romney and Obama?

CONWAY-MOURET: Well, there is, of course, some (inaudible) when Romney toured, you know, (inaudible) of course he had different take and a different approach from Obama. But they are two very different candidates with two opposite programs, really, on education and health and the role of the state and so on. So there you are.

BITTERMANN: As someone who's in the corridors of power in France, is there a (inaudible) in the government?

CONWAY-MOURET: Well, I have a personal preference, of course, but I'm not to say (inaudible) has to make a choice.

And we'll have voted and whoever will be elected, we'll be delighted to work with, because foreign affairs is -- it's time to, you know, create confidence and France and the States follow the same path and work on the same issues and, you know, we have to fight terrorism and we (inaudible) international affairs, we promote them and defend the same things.

BITTERMANN: The big issue in France is the economy, just as it is in the United States. And I wonder if you think either one of these men can make a difference in the way the economy (inaudible). The economies are so globalized these days.

CONWAY-MOURET: Yes, of course. I think both have a program, a different approach to direct (ph) the country in the same as we're really fighting the crisis and certainly fighting unemployment. I mean, that's really what we're focused on at the moment.

So I think both have the same program and we'll do the job if elected (ph).

BITTERMANN: Thank you very much, Helene Conway-Mouret, deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Back to you, Richard.

QUEST: Looks like the canapes are being served behind you there, Jim. Don't want to delay you from having to get going and enjoy some of this absolutely.

Now Becky Anderson is holding the fort in London.

Becky, truth be told, it's half past 7:00, all right, half past 7:00. We've got at least four or five hours before polls even close. You have got an extraordinarily long night. Are you up for it?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Am I up for it? What kind of question is that? I think I've drawn the short straw this evening and ended up not on air but hosting the CNN London U.S. election party, which I've got to say is going to be a right -- a rip-roaring affair.

Let me just show you -- I'm the only guest with me this evening. I thought I'd show you what we'll be doing this evening. We are preparing an Obama -- what's it called?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama colada.

ANDERSON: Obama colada, a First Lady and a CNN punch for our guests this evening. We've got the great and the good (inaudible) world of business, politics and journalism here. What happens, of course, in the U.S. is crucially important to those that are working here in the U.K. So it's going to be a big affair here, Richard. Ask me when I think the election will be called.

QUEST: That was my next question, of course. I'll tell you; let me rephrase my point. When I say are you up for it, for all this evening, after those drinks, I should really say will you still be standing for the results? What time do you think? I'll --

ANDERSON: (Inaudible).

QUEST: -- I am going to -- I'm going to sub the dollar entry fee.

ANDERSON: (Inaudible) what time this election is called.

QUEST: Go on. What time?

ANDERSON: I reckon tonight the election won't be called. I said to you two days ago I thought it would be called about 1:38 Eastern time. I've got a feeling it's going to be that close in some of the Midwestern states that I think ,given the possible litigation we may see going forward, I'm not sure it's going to be called tonight. What do you think?

ANDERSON: I've already put my piece of paper down. I'm not -- I'm not (inaudible). Becky Anderson, who's got an Obama cocktail and a Romneyesque and a First Lady. We thank you. We'll be back with you later to talk about your guests when they arrive.

Fred is in Berlin with us this evening, journalist from national newspapers Divelt (ph) and MTV (ph) news crews. Fred's with me.

What time do you think, Fred, tonight?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What time do I think? Well, I'm going to call an audible on this one, Richard . What I'm going to do is I'm going to say yes, the election is going to be called tonight. I'm not going to say for who, but I think it's going to happen a lot earlier than Becky thinks, than you seem to think and also than Maggie seems to think.

I think it's going to go a lot quicker. I think we're going to see results in Virginia that are going to be quite decisive, in Ohio as well. And I think that this thing could be over faster than many people think, and certainly we'll have a great time here at our election party, Richard.

QUEST: What -- and in Berlin, one -- in a sentence, in a sentence, what does Berlin want from the next U.S. president?

PLEITGEN: In a sentence, what they want is continuity. First of all, obviously, this country is at the forefront of dealing with the Eurozone crisis.

So, therefore, they want a partner in America that's basically going to continue what the Obama administration -- also what the Bush administration before has started, basically staying out of solving the Eurozone crisis, which is what America has done so far. So that's one of the things that is very important here.

A lot of Germans very (inaudible) looking at this point in time, but nevertheless, of course, America is of the utmost importance. One thing I still want to tell you about our election party, though, as you said, it's a CNN election party. It's going to be a great election party.

We're going to have our own mock election here. I don't know if you can see it. It says America Wort (ph) -- America Votes. And the one thing about our election party, though, everything is from America here except the beer. The Germans have not gotten settled on getting American beer at their election party, so they settled for Mexican beer, Richard.

QUEST: Right.

Fred, who will be --

PLEITGEN: (Inaudible).

QUEST: Fred, who will be supping the German brew.

Becky, who will be quaffing the cocktails and Jim Bittermann, who is enjoying the champers in Paris, and they call it work.

What time do you think we're going to call the election tonight? It's a bit of who knows, but @RichardQuest is the tweet then where you can just give me the idea, Eastern time; it's what time you think CNN is going to call the election tonight. Who knows? If it's early, late, depending, @RichardQuest, and we'll just have a quick look and gauge the viewers from where you are.

When we come back, we will map the battlegrounds for you. We'll talk about the swing states and we'll take you to the frontline in those elections. This is CNN election coverage.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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QUEST: I'll be conducting that piece of music before the night's out.

Welcome back, a very good afternoon and good evening to you as CNN ramps up for the coverage of the U.S. presidential election like no other network can bring you the moments, the polls, the decisions, the analysis. It's right here on the world's news leader.

It may be Election Day, the campaigns are still going strong, even as voters in all 50 states are now voting, the candidates squeezing every last minute. Romney and Paul Ryan wrapped up a campaign stop in Cleveland. They're going on somewhere else, by the way, afterwards: Pennsylvania.

The vice president, Joe Biden, was also -- and there's Biden's plane at the back, Romney's plane at the front. It shows the significance of Ohio. And when you think that both of them are there, that's why you realize we're also there -- are in numbers, our Carol Costello is in Ohio for us.

Eighteen electoral college votes. We've got to get a couple of things clear, Carol, just in a second. I understand. How significant from where you can -- from your vista is this provisional ballot issue?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN HOST: Oh, from my vista, from everybody's vista, in Ohio and beyond, it is so important, because well, let me put it this way. Barack Obama won in 2008 Ohio by about 262,000 votes. That means he won by a slim margin then.

It's supposed to be even slimmer this time around, and the provisional ballots matter because the secretary of state of Ohio says about 200,000 provisional ballots will be used today. That means that those provisional ballots could be counted after the election. By law, they have up to 10 days to count those 200,000 provisional ballots. And, of course, that could affect the election, especially if it's very, very close.

Now you're asking what the heck is a provisional ballot? Well, let's say that you've changed your address. Let's say that you were going to vote absentee and you changed your mind and you showed up on voting day to vote. You would have to file a provisional ballot. And that's just to make sure everything is kosher and OK and you haven't voted twice or anything like that.

But those provisional ballots are set aside and they're not counted for 10 days after the election.

QUEST: Now, Carol, just to clarify, because I know there's a lot of accusations that -- of voter suppression elsewhere and there's a lot of accusations of regulations being changed to influence one side or the other.

If I understand what you're saying correctly, this issue with the provisional ballot is something that's happened for decades or years, has been of no great consequence or controversy, but it's only because of the closeness and Ohio's importance that it's relevant this time.

COSTELLO: That's absolutely correct. I mean, Ohio's also -- always issued provisional ballots. They've always had that. And Ohio has always had provisional ballots in great numbers. But because the margin of victory might be very tiny in the state of Ohio, those 200,000 or so estimated provisional ballots will really matter.

QUEST: Finally, did I hear you say that one of your family's already voted in Ohio? I'm sure you heard me saying earlier on our sister network that your mum has already -- has already voted.

COSTELLO: Oh, yes. My mother lives in the state of Ohio and she is active politically. She was very energized to vote. She was one of the first in line in Star County, Ohio. Don't ask me how she's voting, because if I told you -- you know, she's my mother; she'd ground me.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: And it will be a deeply improper question to ask in any event.

Carol Costello, who is in Ohio and is not going to have an early night by any stretch of the imagination, she has a note from her mum to stay out late.

Every vote counts in a race this close. And realistically, the most critical votes will be cast in this handful of states, as we've just shown you in Ohio. It can all get very complicated, not only because of the Electoral College, but because of the balance of power, which is why we have Jonathan Mann to explain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The truth is that if you're not confused by the way Americans elect a president, you haven't been paying attention. Even though the poll numbers have moved dramatically in the last month, the color-coded CNN electoral map has stayed, well, pretty much the same. It has said all along that Obama is leading with all of these blue states, comfortably in his corner.

Romney's states are the ones you see in red. We're talking about the states and the state results instead of the voters or the national vote results because it's actually victories in each individual state that elect the president.

Once we know who won the individual states, each of those states has a different kind of vote to cast, known as electoral votes, based on its population. Whoever wins 270 electoral votes wins the election.

Now, remember, we don't know about all of the states, but we do know how most of them are going to vote. They stay the same from one election to another. That's why the yellow states, the tossup states, are the crucial ones. Polls in those states have shown the race is too close to call. It could swing either way. And Romney's problem is that he needs most of them to win.

Romney has a slight edge, for example, in Florida. So let's say he turns that state red. He has high hopes for Virginia and Colorado. But even if he wins loyal Republican states, and those three swing states, he's still short 13 votes, short of the 270 he needs. He'd have to win two more of the smaller states or the big prize of Ohio to win the election. And we'll be talking a lot about that.

Resetting the map, there's more wiggle room in Obama's path to the presidency. His campaign has set its sights on Iowa, Wisconsin and all- important Ohio. Those three states alone could put him over the top. And the other wins would just be insurance.

But say Obama wins Ohio and Wisconsin but loses Iowa. He wins New Hampshire, Romney wins the rest. That is the nightmare no one wants to see because each candidate would end up with 269 electoral votes -- that's right. A tie in the race for the presidency. That hasn't happened in more than 200 years.

If it did, the newly elected House of Representatives would choose the president; the Senate would choose the vice president. Don't even ask about the mess that would be; the odds are small. We are hoping we won't see it. Back to you.

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QUEST: Jonathan Mann, with the sort of siphology (ph) of what might happen that, frankly, those of us who watch and follow this frequently would just love to know the detail about it.

In the era of electoral trivia, every election, President Obama, on Election Day, plays basketball. It's a tradition he's always done and according to the traveling pool with the president, he has just arrived at an Illinois -- a Chicago, Illinois, basketball court to play a game and I'm told from those who see these things, he plays pretty brutally. But it is a tradition for the president. We'll have pictures of, no doubt, later in the day.

Voting may have been brisk and so are the weather conditions. And nowhere has the weather proved more challenging than in parts of New York, still recovering from the superstorm. We'll talk about that, how it's affecting and we'll also -- we'll have a forecast for you. Good evening to you.

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QUEST (voice-over): At grave risk of stating the obvious, voting is now underway in all 50 United States as we move towards the afternoon session on the eastern coast, just about three to four more hours of voting before the first major polls close. And then we really get down to the nitty-gritty of who wins, who projects and ultimately who wins the White House.

A good day to you. You are most welcome to our special election coverage. The issue number one has been, for voters, jobs. And probably for whoever ends up in the White House, it's going to be a long road. If you join me at the CNN superscreen, this is the road that brings down unemployment.

That (inaudible) be an argument, you think, it's only 7.9 percent, say the Eurozone at 11.5 percent, Greece 25 percent and other countries. But both candidates have pledged to bring down unemployment.

Mitt Romney has pledged to create 12 million new jobs.

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FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my first term, we will add 12 million new jobs to America. We'll have more jobs and more take-home pay because as employers are competing to get people to fill all those jobs, they're going to have to raise wages and raise benefits.

I want better benefits, better wages, more take-home pay for the American worker and more jobs for American middle class citizens and for their families. This is the course that American has to take. If we go down the road we're on now, you're going to see bigger and bigger government and fewer and fewer jobs. That's not the right way. Let's get America working again.

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QUEST: Then this week, former President Bill Clinton came out, criticizing Romney's jobs plan. He said if the president was reelected, then it would lead to 12 million jobs.

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BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A few days before he told we were going to get 12 million jobs, an independent business forecaster named Moody's Analytics -- you can go home and look at it on the computer -- said in the next four years, we're going to get 12 million new jobs if we just don't mess up what has already been done under President Obama.

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QUEST: So both camps have set out the target of 12 million jobs, and each has a nuanced different road map for getting there. Romney calls it his five-point plan; Obama calls it his jobs act, also in five points.

Fundamentally, Obama believes he wants a payroll tax cut, which would affect maybe 98 percent of businesses. There would be holiday tax pay for added workers and all sorts of things; whereas Mitt Romney is much more concerned with lower tax rates for all and cutting out red tape. Remember his cut of 20 percent across all income tax.

There's also a different way of supporting the job market. Tax credit, community tax credits, small business credits and the protection of public sector and infrastructure projects primarily heads down the Romney way. If you look for Governor Romney, then it's much more focused on trade. He calls China a cheat when it comes to trade.

These are, to some extent, nuanced differences, particularly when you see this: Obama wants to support job seekers through these voluntary work schemes, with training, tax credits and the like. Romney said it's a skills and education and he would hire all these hundred thousand new -- or these tens of thousands more teachers. Obama does have similar plans as well.

You're getting the idea? Tax relief from payrolls for families, energy independence from Romney.

And where the two really agree on a goal but have very different views is the necessity of cutting the deficit. Obama would obviously have to cut the deficit, but at the same time has to pay for his jobs plan. Romney has to cut the deficit and at the same time has to pay for his income tax cut.

So the question is can these policies be done? Are they commensurate with the policies of creating 12 million new jobs? And anyway, can that actually be done? It's been done four times before. Roosevelt did it. Reagan did it. Bill Clinton did it. But they all did it with growth rates of 3.9, 3.4 and 8.4 percent.

The best guess of growth in the United States over the next few years, the best guess is about growth rate, oh, 2-3 percent, which suggests and militates (ph) against 12 million jobs by either of them. Anyway, that's the way the economists say.

Tens of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey have been left homeless after superstorm Sandy, and it's posing a big challenge for election officials. Some polling stations have had to be relocated. There are efforts to get people there to vote. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is at one makeshift polling station in Brooklyn and is doubling as a shelter.

This must be a really surreal experience, a shelter with people who've got nothing and a voting experience with people using their democratic right.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, and that's exactly right, Richard. And just to situate all of our viewers, those people who are watching, this is Fort Greene, Brooklyn. This is where Spike Lee, the filmmaker, has one of his offices. It's his neighborhood.

The lines inside have dwindled from three hours down to an hour and a half. Now one man joked to us, saying, "Well, it's shorter than the gas lines," obviously referring to Hurricane Sandy. But as you can see, it says "Vote here." OK? And then over here, you've got New York City Shelter.

Now whether that is causing a greater delay in the number, in the time it's taking to vote, we have see a number of people casting paper ballots. And I want to introduce you to the Walls. You lived in Rockaway. You've been evacuated to the shelters here. Have you voted? Is voting even a priority for you right now?

MR. WALLS, DISPLACED SANDY VICTIM: No.

HELEN WALLS, DISPLACED SANDY VICTIM: No.

FEYERICK: So what do you plan to do? I mean, do you feel that your voice can be heard in this election or not so much?

H. WALLS: Well, now is the time to see, because I'm homeless; I've been in a disaster. I'm a victim of a disaster. I'm out of a home. I'm out of money. I'm out of clothes and shelter. I came here for shelter. I'm at Red Cross housing here at this schoolhouse. And now they put me out and said that there's nothing that they can do.

FEYERICK: So right now basically they're telling you this has to become a school again, so you're going to have to move?

H. WALLS: Yes.

FEYERICK: So another displacement, basically?

H. WALLS: Yes.

FEYERICK: All right.

Mr. and Ms. Walls, we really appreciate it. And we thank you and hopefully things will turn around a little bit.

But, Richard, you know, we spoke to the board of elections out on Long Island in Suffolk -- in Nassau County, excuse me, and we were told there that, in fact, they have seen a tremendous uptick in paper ballots.

The reason for that is because the New York governor said that, frankly, if you go to a polling place, if you're displaced, you can vote anywhere for state and federal officials. And so that is giving some people, like the Walls, should they choose, the hope to at least be able to cast a ballot, Richard.

QUEST: Can't say one blames them, when you're facing their situation. I suppose putting a cross on a piece of paper or pulling a lever on a machine might seem somewhat irrelevant. But I take the point and, Deborah, you've done marvelous reporting, and really bringing home to us the mood and what is actually happening as we, of course, follow this very closely.

Ashleigh Banfield is in Florida. We have teams just about everywhere . She had a nine-page ballot this morning. Even Ashleigh's managed to read it by now.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Are you kidding me? It's in three languages. I did not read through the entire ballot.

I want to show you something, though, Mr. Quest. There is the end of the line now. It is shorter than when I talked to you many, many hours ago. But don't tell that to these very nice people, now all my very best friends, who I've spent the whole day with, who have been waiting and waiting.

These folks pretty much just a few moments now, but as we get down the line, and I look out for all the media trucks that are pulling in, because this is becoming quite a little story, I want to tell you what our long- line story actually ended up doing. And here we go, squeezing through -- sorry, sorry.

Our long-line story was witnessed by people from the various campaigns. And lo and behold, only a few hours ago, an observer from the Romney campaign showed up -- can you make it through there? OK. An observer from the Romney campaign showed up and also a lawyer from the Romney campaign showed up.

And when I asked them what they were looking for, the answers were varied, Richard. On the one hand, they were looking to make sure that everything was going smoothly, that there were enough ballots here, that things were operating properly -- and I'm going to get the cable to make sure we can continue our walk down this long line -- and that there weren't any shenanigans going on, for instance voter intimidation, people coming within the 100 feet that they're supposed to be within if they have their campaign signs and their flyers.

All of that seemed to be going smoothly and there was no concerns that those two representatives from the Romney campaign had, that they represented to me.

But here are some concerns that I'm going to tell you about: 12,000 robocalls -- are you ready for this? They were robocalls that were set up at the local supervisor of elections. And we're almost at the front of the line here. Those calls got stuck in a queue yesterday. The calls were recorded to say, don't forget to vote tomorrow. And guess when they went out, Richard?

QUEST: I can see where this one's going.

BANFIELD: They went out today. It went out today. Yes. And so they don't know how many of the 12,000 went out, but they stopped it after about a half hour. And they've started making other calls to remind or at least --

QUEST: I get the idea.

BANFIELD: -- Election Day is today.

QUEST: Ashleigh, that's a very long line.

BANFIELD: I made it to the front.

QUEST: You made it to the front and we thank you for that. Your workout for the day, Ashleigh, we'll be back with you to see how that actually progresses. You've been there since before they opened.

What is fascinating, Ashleigh's down in Miami. What's fascinating is Mattingly (ph) up in New Hampshire and those up in Chicago and Wisconsin in the cold, Ashleigh Banfield looks like she's going to have a suntan by the end of the day.

Jenny Harrison's at the World Weather Center for the vast red (ph) variety of temperatures.

JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Actually, funny you said that, Richard. I was just talking to Taylor back in our weather office, and just saying exactly that, that across this country, there is such a huge difference in the weather conditions. To give you an example, the warmest, driest, sunniest spot this Election Day is actually going to be Phoenix in Arizona.

The coldest spot is likely to be way up here in Maine, in Caribou in Maine, where the temperature is not going to get above freezing, so 0 Celsius. And actually the wettest location, Atlanta, Georgia, 32 millimeters of rain and that's with the rain actually clearing out of the picture. And you can see those people in Florida, some of them actually had their umbrellas out.

Well, this is what it did look like a few hours ago, St. Petersburg in Florida, everybody had their umbrella up there, just obviously sheltering from the rain showers. At least in Florida it is not cold with that rain, so much better there and certainly for the people, for example, up into the Plains states or up into the northeast and in particular you can see up in Wisconsin quite a mix, actually of sleet and snow mixed together, some rain in the mix as well.

So really when it comes to some of the best weather or perhaps the worst weather areas, it is going to be the northern states, the Midwest across into Wisconsin, Iowa, some rain showers and then also across in the southeast.

But everywhere else, it's actually basically fine and dry. Temperatures as they stand right now, Richard, 5 Celsius in New York, 9 Atlanta, 4 in Chicago. This is pretty much as good as it's going to get across the northeast, so cold there, but at least another day, this day, dry with some good sunshine.

QUEST: Jenny Harrison's at the weather center. We know there's a nor'easter coming up for the northeast tomorrow. We'll talk about that tomorrow, maybe too late by then; it'll all be arrived but you get the idea. There is a nor'easter which will make things difficult.

There Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, we have pictures of them ordering lunch. Yes, you can tell it's Election Day in America. They're wearing white shirts and blue ties. They look like they're wearing a uniform. I'm trying to work out where they actually ordered lunch. Anybody know which - - it was Wendy's. It was Wendy's. Could we hear what they're ordering?

ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).

REP. PAUL RYAN, GOP VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hey, (inaudible).

QUEST: All right. When we started to listen to the candidates ordering lunch, it's time to move on.

Social media sites have been buzzing throughout the election campaign. For online vote, videos to Twitter to Facebook and beyond. Even celebrities have been voicing their opinions. (Inaudible) on what it all - - what we're seeing, what the trend is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Well, let's have a look now at our CNN Twitter map first of all, which we're looking at throughout the day. And this is just in the last five minutes or so.

We fired this up and you can see the intensity of the colors, like the white means that's where people are tweeting the most around the world, and they're mostly, you can see, in Europe they're tweeting a lot and they're - - the East Coast of America, they're tweeting a lot, not so much in the Midwest. There are various hot spots around the globe.

And this will continue to build over the time that we have this map up. But you can see the intensity is dropped somewhat, really, having about 9,000 tweets a minute now compared to with a high of 13,000. So there's a bit of tweet fatigue. But I suspect by the time the polls are closing and the votes are coming in, there will be a lot more.

But also, as we know, (inaudible) become very much a part of the media landscape. And I'll tell you why, Richard, because 3 million people tweeted only four years ago. That's how many people tweeted today it's 175. So that is really quite extraordinary, 175 million users.

QUEST: Oh, 175 million?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

QUEST: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just pausing for breath.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It'd good you're listening.

QUEST: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).

Let's have a look at some of the tweets that we've been following.

And this first tweet is from a lady who says, "It's really important to vote." And that's -- if we could just (inaudible) yes, and that there are many countries around the world where women are not allowed to speak their minds. "You have that right, please use it!" And vote.

Now, let's have a look at a second tweet, actually this is from Beyonce's website. It's not a tweet; it's a handwritten letter that she posted this morning, almost a love letter to President Obama, saying, "You are the leader to take us from where we are to where we need to be.

"You are the only (sic) reason my daughter and nephew will grow up knowing that they can truly be anything they want to be. All my respect and admiration." No small thing from Beyonce. A supporter --

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QUEST: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, we checked.

QUEST: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) sure she had someone have a look. She has her own copy editor, I'm sure.

Let's have a look at Ted Nugent. Now he is a country singer here, very big in the U.S. He's a fan of Mitt Romney. There you see his tweet, "Dear God in heaven, America vote Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan Republican and save America."

QUEST: Wow, it's fascinating, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, two very polarized country, whatever happens tonight and there will be a challenge for any leader.

This, however, is my favorite tweet coming up here. Let's have a look at this, if we can bring it up. And it is saying, "I wonder what Herman Cain is up to today?" Probably rehearsing for the Jon Stewart "Daily Show." Let's have a look there at the last time, if we may, at our Twitter map over here.

QUEST: Thank you, 9,365 tweets per minute.

And if you want to keep tweet to me, what time you think CNN will call the election tonight, or if you're at an election party, it is @RichardQuest. Where your party is, what time you think we will arrange -- or not arrange -- what time you think we will call the election tonight, it'll be well, well into the middle of the night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On a point of clarification, you mean call the election, and if there are any disputes, you have to leave it till January.

QUEST: Yes. Oh, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Supreme Court time.

QUEST: Absolutely. What time CNN would project the winner, or we would say this is who we say is going to win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if there are disputes afterwards?

QUEST: Even if there's disputes.

You can get the idea how the answer's going to be --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But where is it going to be in here.

QUEST: And that is our report on American Choice 2012, and that special hour-long edition of "AMANPOUR" is next, right here at CNN. We leave you with live pictures of voting lines in Ohio. And as always, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead...

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