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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Election Night 2013; Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Admits Smoking Crack
Aired November 5, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much.
Good evening, everyone.
We're coming to you a little early tonight, because we've got breaking news. We're about to call, one of the big races of election 2013, how it and others go tonight, it could say a lot about where politics is heading over the next few years, whether for example Tea Party conservativism will maintain its hold on the Republican Party.
There's also New York City, which may elect its first Democratic mayor in 20 years.
And there's this: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Let's get right to it, right down to Wolf Blitzer with the first call of the night -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In a few seconds, Anderson, polls will close in the New Jersey governor's race and it could potentially mark the beginning of a popular Republican presidential's campaign -- presidential campaign. The Governor Chris Christie running for a second term against the Democratic State Senator Barbara Buono. A win for Christie which likely seal his image as a potential White House presidential candidate in 2016 -- only a few seconds away from finding out if we, here at CNN can make a projection here in New Jersey.
The answer is yes -- Chris Christie we project will be reelected as a governor for New Jersey for another four years, beating Barbara Buono. Based on the exit poll results and other information we're getting, Chris Christie easily moves forward and gets a second term.
Let's bring in John King over at the magic wall.
Not a huge surprise, he was way, way ahead in all of the polls but now, formally, we have made this projection.
KING: We've made this projection and it looks like this will be a landslide for Chris Christie, not just a reelection win, but a landslide. And he will make the case, Wolf, starting tomorrow morning, a message to the national Republican Party about what it takes to win the White House back in 2016. Among the reasons, Chris Christie, 53 percent of the voting population in New Jersey are women. That's red for a reason. Chris Christie, according to our exit polls, is carrying the women's vote against a female Democratic opponent, 56 percent. Remember the gender gap in both Obama races against John McCain and Mitt Romney. Chris Christie will make the case. Look at that, I can win among women.
Let's move it over. That's not it. That's not the only thing he will do. He's winning overwhelmingly the white votes. But I want to show you this, 14 percent of the electorate tonight in New Jersey, African- Americans. Obviously it's blue because they're going for his Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, but Chris Christie getting 21 percent of the African-American who voted on our exit poll. That is up from 9 percent four years ago.
So Chris Christie will say not only am I doing better than a McCain or a Romney but I have built support over the last four years among African-Americans.
Another key constituency, not so much in New Jersey, Latinos only make up 8 percent of the population in New Jersey but they're critically important in many of the swing states.
Wolf, as you know, again, Chris Christie getting nearly half, 45 percent of the Latino vote four years ago. That number was 32 percent. He can go and make the case to national Republicans now among voters where we have been weak, I am not only performing strong but improving.
Nearly half of the voters of New Jersey today describe themselves as moderates. Twenty-seven percent conservative. Chris Christie winning big among both of those voting blocs. That's the reason he's winning big today.
I just want to come over here and show you one more here. This is not a liberal state. President Obama won it both -- big both times but at the moment, the mood is by no means liberal. Split on Obamacare, 50- 49, and split, Wolf, on the -- president's job approval performance right now.
So Chris Christie can make a case, yes, his state has been blue, not since George H.W. Bush, not since 19 88 has it voted Republican for president. It is not in a liberal mood right now. Chris Christie can make the case he won big and he's going to make the case that those numbers among African-Americans, Latinos and women prove that he should be a serious contender for 2016.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And he's making no secret that he's thinking seriously about becoming a serious contender for the nomination.
KING: That's right.
BLITZER: All right. John, stand by. We're watching a number of other races tonight that could have a big impact on national politics and the 2016 presidential race.
In Virginia, still too early to call, the governor's race, the top contenders are the Democrat Terry McAuliffe and the Republican Ken Cuccinelli. The purple state is an important presidential battleground.
Now let's take a look at actual votes coming in from New Jersey right now. Seventeen percent of the vote is now in Virginia, 17 percent of the vote is in. You look -- you see Ken Cuccinelli actually had 18 percent of the vote, counted 53 percent, to 40 percent Robert Sarvis, the third party libertarian candidate with 7 percent. Now those are actually votes that have already been tallied.
Also on the -- on the line tonight the mayor's office in New York City, a Democrat could win it for the first time in two decades, succeeding the independent mayor Michael Bloomberg. Polls close in New York, by the way, at the top of the hour.
There is also a Republican congressional primary run-off in Alabama we're following. It will be a test of the Tea Party's cloud versus the GOP establishment. We're watching that race closely and we're also watching ballot initiatives out west including a proposed marijuana tax in Colorado and an effort by Colorado residents to secede from the state.
In Virginia right now, let's take another closer look at the actual votes. You see Ken Cuccinelli actually ahead with 53 percent to 40 percent for Terry McAuliffe. Robert Sarvis, the third party candidate with 7 percent. Now it just changed 20 percent of the vote is now and you see Ken Cuccinelli still ahead, 51-42. Sarvis remaining -- the libertarian candidate -- with 7 percent in there.
So once again, we have not been able to make a projection in Virginia, clearly a close race shaping up. We're going to watch it every step of the way. Lots at stake in Virginia, top of the hour New York City. We've just projected a winner in New Jersey. Chris Christie reelected to a second term -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf, thanks very much. We'll check back in with you.
Now whether he admits it or not and he sometimes tries not to, Chris Christie went into tonight surrounded by presidential buzz. He was also surrounded today by Jake Tapper and crew. They had exclusive access to the governor who did not disappoint, talking about President Obama tweaking his promise that Americans can keep their insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Governor Christie had some blunt advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Here's what my suggestion would be to him, don't be so cute. And when you make a mistake, admit it.
Now, listen, if it was a mistake in 2009, if he was mistaken in 2009 and 2010 on his understanding of how the law would operate, then just admit it to people. Say you know what? I said it. I was wrong. I'm sorry and we're going to try to fix this and make it better.
I think people would give any leader in that circumstance a lot of credit for just, you know, owning up to it. Instead of now trying to -- like don't lawyer it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Don't lawyer it. Jake Tapper joins us from Christie headquarters in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Also with us, chief political correspondent Candy Crowley and chief political analyst Gloria Borger.
So fascinating, Jake. I mean, Christie obviously, he's never known to mince words. He certainly didn't mince words with you today.
JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": No, he didn't. He was -- look, this is a man who experienced some tough times, some tough words from his own party for having a good working relationship with President Obama and in the closing days of the election last year after Superstorm Sandy hit the coast and President Obama came to New Jersey and Christie, who had endorsed Mitt Romney, obviously, had very nice things to say about Obama.
A lot of Republicans still mad and still bitter about that. Chris Christie nonetheless today offering some blunt talk for President Obama, don't be a lawyer, be a leader. Even though Chris Christie acknowledges he is a lawyer as well. People don't like that. They want to hear the truth and that's some tough advice for the president, obviously not taking it as of now.
COOPER: And Candy, it's really the margin of Chris Christie's victory that a lot of people are going to be looking at tonight.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really who votes for him, it's the demographics. Yes.
CROWLEY: It'll be a nice big win. He wants -- he told Jake he wanted something over 50 percent because that would give him a little place in Republican history. But what he needs to show is what John King was talking about, which is here I am, I'm a Republican in a Democratic state, and look where -- look how I did among African- Americans. Look how I did among Hispanics.
Look at me in a way I did with women. If you take all of those groups and see how Mitt Romney scored, which was very low, you -- this is Chris Christie's way of saying look, I'm -- this is how you win elections.
CROWLEY: Now, it's how you win elections in New Jersey.
CROWLEY: And that's assuming a lot, but nonetheless, he reminds me a little bit of Bill Clinton in Arkansas. A moderate Democratic governor in a Republican state. This is now a -- he doesn't like being called a moderate. It is now a Republican who's running a blue state.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But I think Christie's brand is really more personal than ideological. You know, don't be a phony, President Obama. Don't do that. You know, don't be a lawyer. Just tell the people the truth like I tell the people the truth. If you didn't know your own health care law, you know, own up to it.
So, you know, this is a brand that he's developing which says, as Candy says, that he can attract this coalition that Republicans were unable to attract in the last election but also he's a different kind of politician and that's what he's trying to say.
TAPPER: And --
COOPER: Yes, go ahead, Jake.
TAPPER: Anderson, if I could just -- the -- when Christie told me, even though he's known for candor and not for spin. When he told me all he wanted to do was get over 50 percent --
TAPPER: -- that was spinning to a degree. It was setting expectations low citing the fact that the last Republican to win the state was George H.W. Bush in 1988 and that Christie Todd Whitman was reelected twice without 50 percent of the vote. People here at his campaign headquarters, at his reelection victory campaign headquarters expect that he will do well over 50 percent.
They want the media wow factor to be even bigger.
TAPPER: Oh, only 50 percent, that's all we expect. Oh my god, it was 58 percent. That's what they're going for here. So there is straight talk and then there's complete candor.
I don't know any politician who offers complete candor.
COOPER: You know, Jake, Candy was talking about the knock on Christie by some Republicans that he is -- that he's a moderate, that he's not conservative enough. You asked him about that. You told him obviously that, you know, some Tea Partiers consider him a Republican in name only. I want to play what he said for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: You look at my record. I think most people objectively look at my record as we were talking about before when we were outside. It's a -- it's a solid conservative record, and I mean, for goodness sakes, almost everybody has been called a rhino now. You know, if you weren't in favor of the government shutdown, you're a rhino. I don't -- you know, I don't pay any attention to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Jake, I mean, is he right? I mean, is the image of him as a moderate misplaced?
TAPPER: I mean, he's -- I think he's a very conservative guy. I think that when it comes to abortion and reproductive rights and those issues, when it comes to guns, he vetoed some gun restrictions here. When it comes to raising taxes on wealthy Americans, he's been against that. I mean, he has a case to make.
Now on the other hand, has he supported gun control in the past? Yes. Has he talked about climate change being a real thing? Yes. And has he worked with Democrats in a state that is very Democratic, capital D, he has. I think that his will be the path to the presidency if there is one, to the nomination even, will be queuing to the center right. But he will be able to say that he's against abortion and has kept -- tried to keep money away from Planned Parenthood in the state, that he vetoed gun restriction, legislation.
TAPPER: That he's held the line on taxes. He has a case to make. Is he Rand Paul? Is he Ted Cruz? Absolutely not.
COOPER: He's certainly looking beyond the borders of New Jersey, though.
BORGER: He is.
COOPER: I mean, there's no doubt he's looking --
BORGER: He is. But is he conservative enough to win in Iowa? Probably not. But could he win in New Hampshire? Maybe. So as he charts his path he's got to figure out -- he knows that Ted Cruz, for example, would probably do pretty well in Iowa and led Rand Paul and Ted Cruz maybe fight that one out. But he --
CROWLEY: But he also has his finger on the pulse of what in the end always matters, electability.
CROWLEY: And we -- this isn't the point where, you know, we know that the Tea Party and the conservatives are saying, you know, it's because we went for electability before that we lost.
CROWLEY: But in the end what Republicans want is a Republican in the White House and if there is a determination and he has enough money to go the distance, he'll be fine.
BORGER: It depends which Republican Party you're talking about.
BORGER: They'll say electability got Mitt Romney nowhere. It got Hillary Clinton nowhere.
BORGER: She didn't get the nomination. So, you know, they'll say maybe we need to stand for something more in the states.
COOPER: We're going to -- a lot to watch for in this hour. Gloria, thank you. Candy, Jake, as well.
We're of course going to be reporting each key race as the calls come in throughout the hour and throughout the night on CNN. Let us know what you think. Call me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. Tweet using hash tag ac360.
Coming up next, maybe it wasn't surprising but it sure was shocking. The mayor of Canada's biggest city admitting to longstanding allegations that yes, he smoked crack. Actually he says he was probably too drunk to remember.
So is this a problem? Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us and you got to see the press conference he gave. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Election Night 2012, looking there at -- 2013 obviously looking at McAuliffe and Cuccinelli headquarters in Virginia. New developments in their race for governor.
For that, let's go back to Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Anderson, it's shaping up to be very, very close as the raw votes have been coming in from Virginia. The CNN exit polls have now been weighted to reflect actual votes as well. So we want to show you what our weighted exit polls are now revealing.
Remember, these are still estimates, they're based on interviews with a sampling of voter as they left select polling stations throughout Virginia today.
And here are the updated exit polls, weighted exit polls. 47 percent for Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat, 45 percent for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican, 7 percent for Rob Sarvis, the libertarian, third party candidate.
A very, very close race shaping up, 47 percent, 45 percent -- remember, these are exit poll estimates. The final outcome may be different, but clearly, we see what could be an extremely tight race in Virginia.
We're going to share more exit poll data like this throughout the night, but let me show you the actual votes that have now been tallied, have actually been counted. 29 percent of the vote is now in. And Ken Cuccinelli is ahead by more than 56,000 votes with 51 percent, to Terry McAuliffe's 42 percent, 30 percent of the vote is now in. 51-42, still 58,000 plus ahead for Ken Cuccinelli over Terry McAuliffe. Seven percent for Robert Sarvis, the third party libertarian candidate.
Let's go to John King over here at the magic wall to some of the shaping up a lot closer than a lot of folks had thought going into tonight.
KING: A lot closer. Just as we look at these numbers with 30 percent in, you see that margin. I just want to show people a little historical comparison. Look at the red coming in. These are counties that are coming in for Ken Cuccinelli, the blue counties coming in for Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat.
Of note, the most important counties up here, a very light blue there, which is starting to get results up here, leaning Democratic in Fairfax County. And it's a lot to -- northern Virginia. This is the population center. Until we have more votes from up here it's hard to say what's going to happen.
I just want to show you this. When you do see this vote coming in, let me call it for you here a little bit. Look at all this red here, look at this red here. Come down here. This is the strength for Ken Cuccinelli. Right? You see this red in the center of the state up here. I just want to go back in time. As you see that red right there, what I'm going to do is show you the 2009 governor's race won by the incumbent now Republican, Bob McDonnell, and if you make that come up high and we're going to push it a little harder.
Here -- let's see if we can get it to come in, if you come over -- there we go. You see there where Ken Cuccinelli is doing well tonight, the areas I circled, a reliably Republican area. So he is off to a start.
One of the things we need to see is Bob McDonnell did very well up here. Up here in northern Virginia suburbs. He did very well but if you show the presidential race up there, that's President Obama up here.
This is now the swing area in Virginia. For Republicans to win, a lot of the population has moved up here. This is the presidential race. This is your 2009 governor's race and that will be the battleground tonight. Who can win in the more populated northern Virginia suburbs but at the moment, when you remember this here, now I want to come back to tonight, Ken Cuccinelli at the moment is doing what he needs to do in the rural part of the state, the Republican parts of the state.
The question is, you see a light blue here leaning Democratic, you see a dark blue there, that one starting to go Democratic. As we get more votes up here, Ken Cuccinelli is going to need some red up here or at least some very light blue to have a chance in battleground Virginia.
BLITZER: Yes. If Terry McAuliffe does well in northern Virginia, that will certainly help him.
We're getting some more numbers now. 32 percent, 32 percent of the vote is now in and Cuccinelli is still ahead, 50-43 percent. He's up by 49,600 votes, the third party libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, still with 7 percent. But -- almost a third of the vote has now been counted in Virginia and Ken Cuccinelli remains ahead in this race.
So it's shaping up a lot closer than a lot of folks thought it would be. We're going to watch it throughout the night, obviously. We're not ready to make any projection by any means -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Wolf, we'll check back with you shortly.
Right now we are north where the Canadian political landscape is shaking, to say the least. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acknowledging that he smoked crack cocaine about a year ago, probably, as he put it in one of his drunken stupors. That's a quote.
That's right, he said, "I smoked crack but was too drunk to remember." The allegations have been dogging him now for months. Last week Toronto's police chief said investigators have video that allegedly shows Ford smoking a crack pipe. Up until now he denied using crack. Today he promised it won't happen again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: I embarrassed everyone in the city and I will be forever sorry. There is only one person to blame for this, and that is myself. I know by admitting my mistake was the right thing to do and I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders. I know what I did was wrong and admitting it was the most difficult and embarrassing thing I have ever had to do.
To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down, and I can't do anything else but apologize. There is important work that we must advance and important decisions that must be made. For the sake of the taxpayers of this great city, for the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "For the sake of the taxpayers." Ford not only ignored calls to step aside, he said he plans to run for reelection next year.
Paula Newton is in Toronto tonight.
I just want to play, Paula, some of the repeated denials that we have heard from this man over the course of the last six months. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORD: These allegations are ridiculous. Absolutely not true. It's ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are the allegations true?
FORD: Ridiculous. I do not use crack cocaine nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. Number one, there is no video, so that's all I can say.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you done illegal drugs since you've been mayor?
FORD: Anything else? I have no reason to resign. I'm going to go back, return my phone calls, going to be out doing what the people elected me to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What was the reaction today when he finally admitted that he did do it and -- but it was probably in one of his drunken binges?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You know, shock, utter shock, but on the other hand, Anderson, everyone is completely riveted. I mean, we just heard all those emphatic denials. But now I want you to hear how Mayor Ford's day started today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORD: Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When, sir?
FORD: But no -- do I? Am I an addict, no?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When have you --
FORD: Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago. I answered your question --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: So he's saying that in one of those drunken stupors he may have smoked crack cocaine and it may be on video. He's telling people, look, I'm coming clean on this right now. And more to that, he's saying he wants to see the video because he wants to see how bad it actually was and he wants the whole city to see it, too -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. I understand -- I mean, despite all this, there's not much anyone can do to actually remove him from office, right?
NEWTON: No, not at all, Anderson. There is no impeachment procedure at city hall behind me and counselors are utterly frustrated, so many of them, even the supporters saying, look, it's time for him to step aside, at least for a little bit of time and really take a timeout and deal with these personal issues, personal issues that he's now admitted to.
Having said that, Anderson, he said he's going to run next year, run again for mayor, and I would not count him out, despite all of this. His popularity has been, you know, fairly strong and more than that, his poll numbers surprisingly resilient.
COOPER: And have the police commented on their investigation of the mayor?
NEWTON: Well, they've commented to say, look, we have this video but so far there are no charges pending against the mayor. When they heard everything that came out today they said, you know, we'll take this information and that's about all they would say about it.
But, Anderson, think about this, this mayor runs the police department. Technically he is in charge of the same police department that has had him under secret surveillance for months. Believe me, this story isn't going anywhere. Everyone wants to see that video. It might come out in the coming months in a trial in connection with drug charges of the mayor's former driver and friend, but in the meantime, the mayor saying look, the video exists. I did it. I'm sorry. Let's move on.
COOPER: Well, the idea that he's saying this is all about the taxpayers and that's why he wants to stay in, I mean, you know, we'll see if the taxpayers buy that -- buy that argument.
Paula Newton, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.
I want to turn next to Dr. Drew Pinsky, addiction medicine specialist and host of "Dr. Drew on Call" on HLN.
So, Dr. Drew, after admitting to smoking crack, Toronto's mayor said he'd probably tried it in, quote, "one of my drunken stupors." As someone who works with people with addiction problems, what does that tell you about him that he's talking about drunken stupors, plural?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST OF HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": Yes. To be clear, I don't know him, so I'm assessing what I see in the press just like everybody else. But fairly clearly he meets criteria for alcoholism. Really, people have great misconception about what alcoholism is. You don't have to be drinking every day to be an alcoholic, you don't have to have liver disease. You just have to have a biological heritage and ongoing use in the face of consequence, work, relationships, health and look, his work consequences have been profound.
And then finally denial is a -- a defining feature of this condition, as well, and certainly, he is manifesting classic denial.
COOPER: I mean, he emphasized he wasn't an addict but, I mean, addiction takes many forms. You can be addicted to alcohol. It's sort of like he's just saying, oh, a drunken stupor, if you're an adult -- you know, in a responsible position.
COOPER: Having -- multiple drunken stupors doesn't seem like --
PINSKY: Right. If you -- right.
COOPER: A responsible thing.
PINSKY: Blackout drunk. No. Well, it's not about responsible. It's a sign of illness. It's a sign of a condition. If you have blackout drinks, repeat drunks, repeatedly, you're at least a binge alcoholic. And you're right, Anderson, I don't make a distinction between addiction and alcoholism. They're fundamentally -- they're sort of the same part of the brain, the motivational systems. And as such, he needs to take time get it -- I actually feel very, very sympathetic towards this guy. He needs to step down, take care of his medical problem, just like if he had any other serious medical condition, get treatment and then return to work.
But to go on the way he is, insist on continuing to work and -- he's come out publicly and said, now, I'm going to cut down on my alcohol consumption. That's not going to work. You're going to see more press conferences ahead.
COOPER: Right. I mean, to say oh, I'm just going to cut down, you can't -- it doesn't work that way.
PINSKY: Doesn't work. Doesn't work that way. That's exactly right. The other thing he's doing in addition to denial, he is obfuscating which is a classic alcoholic move which is to say, I didn't lie to you, guys, you guys just didn't ask me the right questions, that's why you didn't get the information you wanted.
And then when addicts or alcoholics say that to me, I literally laugh out loud. I mean, I think they're very comical when they obfuscate and try to distort and blow smokes so they continue using. But it's a classic reason, a classic sort of manifestation of this motivational disturbance where the brain believes it must continue its relationship with alcohol at any cost, no matter how much humiliation, no matter how much work consequence, no matter the political consequence, he is going to keep that relationship going.
COOPER: Can -- do people often in -- you know, in this position, do they just not see the reality of their circumstances? I mean, you take one look at this guy.
COOPER: You listen to him over the last couple of months as he's been, you know, lying and ducking and diving on this stuff, and he just seems out of control.
PINSKY: Right, Anderson. And that's what denial is. Denial takes many forms but part of it is not really seeing reality on reality's terms so not seeing things the way other people see it, and that seems to be what's going on here.
The other question that people ask themselves is, can you be that big? Can you be obese and be a crack addict? And absolutely. I have seen obese crack addicts.
The other question I keep -- people keep asking me is, can you use crack on an occasional basis, and not as a primary drug but as part of what alcoholics throw into their mix. They'll throw benzodiazepines and opiods and crack cocaine sometimes, and in fact it doesn't become an issue. The alcohol remains primary. It can become an issue but doesn't have to as opposed to individuals that are just picking up the crack pipe.
COOPER: It's just an unbelievable story. No doubt --
PINSKY: It's quite a story.
COOPER: Yes. Dr. Drew, thanks.
PINSKY: You bet.
COOPER: Up next, back to our election coverage and that fight -- that tight race we're watching tonight in Virginia. We'll be right back.
COOPER: More election coverage, we've seen an important race call in New Jersey and a close race with big implications in Virginia still is too close to call. Wolf Blitzer has the latest -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Half the votes actually counted, Anderson. Take a look at this, 46 percent of the vote is now in Virginia. Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general with 49 percent. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, former chairman of the Democratic Party with 44 percent, 55,000 vote advantage for Cuccinelli, the third party libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis with 7 percent, so it's a close race. We cannot make a projection in Virginia.
We did make a projection in New Jersey. John King is here. Can we tell where the votes are coming in from yet because Northern Virginia is a pretty Democratic area?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We do know from Arlington County, a lot of the vote is in, but from Fairfax County, Prince William County, Lowden County, right up here in Northern Virginia that are critical, absolutely critical for the outcome of this state. We still have a lot to be counted. We have a relatively low percentage of the vote in up here. Why is that so important?
As you just said, you have the Republican, 57,000 votes ahead in our latest count, nearly half of the vote counted. There are more than enough votes up here for the Democrat to make up that margin and as you can see, light blue means that county is leaning Democratic. Dark blue means that county is very strongly leaning Democratic.
This when you see all this red out here, that is the very solid for Ken Cuccinelli, the dark blue is very solid for Terry McAuliffe, the lighter blue leaning for Terry McAuliffe. This is the most important area of the state. Right here, Wolf. I want to show people history. As you see, Northern Virginian where the population growth is, right now either strong or leaning Democrat Terry McAuliffe even though he's losing by 63,000 votes statewide.
Why is that matter? Let's go back and look at the 2000 governor's race. I want to bring that up. I got to turn that off to do this. Look at the 2009 governor's race and turn that on this is Bob McDonald, the current incumbent Republican governor. Look at that, he swept these northern counties. Now remember, that's what it looked like in 2009. This is what it looks like right now at the moment tonight. They are leaning Democratic. If they stay that way Terry McAuliffe likely carries the state because that's where the population is again. Look at the map, see all this read for Ken Cuccinelli. That is consistent with what happened in 2009.
Republican has to win big down here and by huge margins down here, but then hold his own up here. Bob McDonald won, just one more piece of history if you look at the 2012 presidential race that was the difference. President Obama carried the race for president. Bob McDonald carries the race for governor. A Republican lies right up here.
BLITZER: We are told that only 31 percent of the vote in the suburban D.C. area of Northern Virginia has actually been counted. So it's still relatively early. We'll see what happens in the coming hour, hour or two.
KING: Hour or so.
BLITZER: Take a look at this, 50 percent almost, 49 percent of the vote in Cuccinelli still ahead by 50,000 votes or so, 49 percent to 44 percent, Sarvis, the third party libertarian candidate still with 7 percent. Close race shaping up, Anderson, in Virginia.
COOPER: No doubt about it, Wolf. Thanks very much. Dana Bash is at Terry McAuliffe headquarters. She joins us now. How confident are they feeling at this point?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, they are still insisting here at McAuliffe headquarters that they feel confident. That they feel that they are going to pull this out despite the fact that at least the early numbers show Ken Cuccinelli ahead and it's primarily because of what Wolf and John were just talking about that they are still pretty low when it comes to the numbers coming in from the key Democratic areas and the key population centers here where I am in Northern Virginia.
So that's why they say that they feel really good and you see the ballroom here has been filling up. The bar is open and I think unlike at Cuccinelli headquarters down the road, this is much more of a festive atmosphere. People here are still pretty optimistic. The reason is they had a candidate who has been out there and been ahead in the polls since the spring. They were a little worried they would tighten up and at least coming into Election Day, they hadn't.
COOPER: This race is more acrimonious than we've seen in recent memory.
BASH: Very acrimonious as somebody who lives in the media market where you see the ads, it's non-stop. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, the former DNC chair, somebody that has a very good fundraising list has for decades has been able to really pull in the cash here, not just for his campaign, but from outside supporters and you definitely see the ads very, very tough on Ken Cuccinelli. And big picture, of course, you know, this isn't just about Virginia. It is a question about what the implications are nationally. Democrats are already here saying that they feel that the message that Terry McAuliffe had that Ken Cuccinelli, the current attorney general is simply just too extreme that the Tea Party seen best days behind them and that this will be the message they put into next midterm elections in 2014 --
BASH: -- this election in 2009 when Bob McDonald won. They are hoping that this is the beginning of the end on the Democratic side.
COOPER: Dana, appreciate it. We'll check back with you.
Up next, we are going to have more from Virginia as the bellwether race gets tighter. Be right back.
COOPER: The 2013 election coverage, the New Jersey governor's race decided early, Chris Christie re-elected. The race for Virginia's open governor seat still too close to call. Republican Ken Cuccinelli's lead shrinking as returns comes in from Northern Virginia. Wolf has the new information -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Anderson, let's take a look -- it looks like we are going to wait the old fashioned way for results to actually come in, in Virginia, 61 percent of the vote has now been counted. The race getting closer and closer, Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general with 48 percent and Terry McAuliffe 45 percent. About 40,000 vote difference right there, 7 percent for the third party libertarian candidate. But it's getting closer, 39 percent of the vote yet to be counted, John King. So this is a close race by all accounts. We don't have the result.
KING: We don't know the result. One point worth making in the Northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington, D.C., these counties right here the D.C. suburbs only 44 percent of the vote has been counted so far as we speak. So 56 percent of the vote still out as we begin this conversation. The votes are coming in as we speak.
But that is the most critical area of the state. So you see Ken Cuccinelli with about a 41,000 vote lead at the moment. He is doing what he needs to do out here. This is what a Republican needs to do in the smaller rural counties ran up red and look at that dark red, that means those are strongly leaning Republicans.
Places where you see dark blue, that means they are strongly Democratic. When you see this light blue and this could be critical, Wolf, how big does Terry McAuliffe win the Northern Virginia suburbs if he holds them? This could be the critical part of the race. It will be the critical part of the race because this is where the people are. Why is that so?
Look at this map right now. This is the race as it now stands in Virginia for governor. OK? Now let's go to the 2009 governor's race, got to turn this off for a second. Republican Bob McDonald won because he performed so strongly in the D.C. suburbs as well he is doing what any Republican has to do. Winning down here in the rural parts of the state, but remember that because in 2012 when the president won, a Democrat, Barack Obama won for president.
What's the difference, the populous suburbs, just outside of Washington, D.C. This is the critical part of this race. We've seen the exit polls. This is an evenly divided states. Split on Obamacare, on the president's job performance. More moderate electorate than five or ten years ago, but Wolf, right now, the demographics of the state are reshaping its politics.
The battles in the suburbs, that's the presidential race. That's the 2009 governor's race. This is where we stand right now. These counties right up in here will determine the winner of what at the moment is a very competitive race with the republican ahead as we speak for Virginia governor -- Anderson.
COOPER: John, just explain why Virginia is considered still such a national bellwether.
KING: Well, there was a time in my life 26 years ago where it was gone, a Republican state will you look at this map. President Obama wins convincingly over Mitt Romney, right, 332-206. That was a year ago. It may seem like a long time ago, but this was just a year ago. Look at one of the things the president did, he turned Virginia blue. He also turned Florida blue and Ohio blue.
But what you'd see this state because of the population shift, if Virginia is in play then Ohio is in play. If Virginia is in play then Florida is in play because that means the candidate was keeping in play. That means moderate voters are in play. Looking on the other map, if you look at a national map here, again, this is 2012. President Obama carries Virginia. He carries Florida, Ohio and I'll go as far in as Iowa.
These are classic swing states in American politics. Virginia was not a classic swing state when I covered national politics. Look at this. When you look at 84 it is reliably red, 88 reliably red, 92 even Bill Clinton wins, reliably red, '96 Clinton wins re-election reliably red and George W. Bush carries it twice only when President Obama comes along in 2008 finally take advantage of the demographic shifts especially in Northern Virginia and turn it blue.
He wins again in 2012. When you look ahead to 2016 and try to do this map, you try to show the Republicans getting to the magic number of 270, remember, Mitt Romney at 206. How would he get to 270? The Republicans have to do it, win Ohio and Iowa and some more votes somewhere. How about Virginia? That would be enough to change.
Virginia is now one of the top three or four national presidential battle grounds. That is why so much attention will be focused tonight not only on who wins but how they did it, who voted, how the issues broke down whether the government shutdown, health care plan or an issue we haven't talked about tonight because health care and the shut down so dominated the elections, abortion and social issues a factor especially in the northern suburbs.
COOPER: Thanks very much.
I want to talk about those things with my panel right now. I'm joined by CNN political reporter, Peter Hamby at Cuccinelli headquarters in Richmond, Virginia and Gloria Borger is here and Candy Crowley. Peter, what is the scene. We talked to Dana Bash over their at McAuliffe headquarters. What's the scene? How confident are they at Cuccinelli headquarters?
PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, the mood here has actually changed a little bit in the last hour. It really had the smell of death an hour ago. You know, the race being tight and too close to call, you know, the mood picked up a little bit. Look, if you're a Democrat, you're in the driver's seat to be. Reports late out of Virginia, this happened last year in the presidential race, the big counties in Fairfax come in late. That will favor the Democrat.
Secondly, look down ballot at the attorney general's race. Republican Mark Obbenshain is out performing Ken Cuccinelli. That suggest we have ticket splitters in this race and that means voters who are voting for Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat for governor and then Mark Obbenshain, the Republican for attorney general.
So that's another good sign for Democrats, but Republicans feel better and think it will be closer. This race was never 10, 12 points. Maybe two points but, you know, the money here is still on a very close race with probably McAuliffe having an edge.
COOPER: Never good when a party has the smell of death.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not in my experience.
COOPER: Not in my experience, either. Not much of a party goer, but that I know. Candy, it's interesting. I mean, a lot of people are looking closely at this race. John talked about national implications, but a lot of people are going to be judging for the strength of the Tea Party based on this race. You have a conservative Republican Cuccinelli against a moderate Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Is that one lens to look at this through?
CROWLEY: It's one lens. There is also a race in Alabama that is interesting that Republican versus Republican in a runoff race and that will be interesting. Again, it's about location. With Cuccinelli, there are so many reasons if this ends up a loss for him, people will look back and say he didn't respond to the criticism from Terry McAuliffe. He out raised him --
He had so much and run the race before and knew what he did wrong. It was a pretty darn good race by McAuliffe. They say he's the least two awful. When you ask about favorability they preferred him to Cuccinelli. There are a lot of reasons, but will be looked at through the prism of the Tea Party because if they can't play well in Virginia, this further solidifies it as a swing state.
COOPER: Social issues --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Social issues -- you know, Terry McAuliffe took a page from Barack Obama's playbook, went after women voters and knew that's how Obama won the state. So we live in the -- in the zone in which we get inundated with these ads, it was abortion and contraception and Terry McAuliffe did a very good job of defining Ken Cuccinelli that way.
Now to your point about the Tea Party, some Tea Party folks may come out of this race and say if Cuccinelli fought back, stuck with the base, got the base out, then maybe he could have actually won this race. That may be the lesson they take.
The more established Republicans may take another lesson, look broaden the base, appeal to women and minorities. You know, where you stand may depend on where you sit as you analyze this, as a Republican. I mean, the Tea Party folks may say you didn't fight hard enough.
COOPER: I want to check in with John King for some of the numbers on Virginia. John, what are you looking at?
KING: Anderson, as you continue that conversation, we're getting more votes in and this is a fascinating close race. If you look at the raw numbers right now I'm looking off to the screen to catch them. The Republican has a 43,000 vote lead with 69 percent of the vote in as you see a lot of red out here in the less populated areas and blue staring to fill in Northern Virginia.
Here's what we know, 69 percent of the vote is in, but 50 percent of the outstanding vote we are told is in the areas up here in Northern Virginia. It is down here in Richmond. It is down here in the New Port News area and I want to just show you why this is so important. This is blue filling in. That means it's leaning Democratic if light blue and strong Democratic if it dark blue. You win elections when the republican is sweeping the less populated rural areas.
Win big where Democrats live, people live, heavy population. We need to watch and see if it plays out. I want to give history. Turn this off. This is why we're watching these so closely. In the 2009 governor's race won by a Republican, bring that race up, over and in here. You see what happens here, doesn't want to work at the moment.
All right, we'll break that later. Watch this here. I'll show you why this matters. Fifty percent of the vote in the areas I circled. Come with me here and we'll take a closer look. This is what happened in the 2012 presidential election. Look at this red for Mitt Romney. When Obama wins the state by four points, a relatively close race, how does he do it?
He wins here, wins in Richmond. He wins down here in Norfolk, Newport News and half of the outstanding vote is in those areas right there, critical, absolutely critical to Democrats in this election. So a 45,000 nearly 46,000 vote margin at the moment, Terry McAuliffe knows half of the votes to be counted are in those areas right there. He needs to not only win them, but he needs to win them by a decent margin to make up that 47,000 vote lead for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican.
COOPER: All right, John, stand by, and Peter, Candy and Gloria as well. We'll continue the election coverage all evening long and you can also of course watch us on TV and check in at cnn.com more for information.
Up next, Michelle Knight, remember her, she was kidnapped and held captive by Ariel Castro for 11 years, refused to let him win despite what he forced her to endure. She spoke to Dr. Phil, my interview with him ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. We continue to follow election returns especially in Virginia where the governor's race is too close to call, 48 percent to 45 percent. We'll give you updates over the next several minutes.
I do want to turn to the story of Michelle Knight. She is bravely revealing the horror that she lived through, being kidnapped, held captive for 11 years in a house in Cleveland by Ariel Castro. She, Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, they were finally rescued, as you know, from years of imprisonment back in May.
In an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw airing today and tomorrow, Michelle Knight says she persevered with one person in mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a time you thought you would rather just die?
MICHELLE KNIGHT, HELD CAPTIVE BY ARIEL CASTRO: Yes, but this would be taking the easy way out and I want my son to know me as a Victor, not a victim, and I wanted him to know that I survived loving him. His love got me through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She is a remarkable survivor. Tonight, more of my one on one interview with Dr. Phil.
COOPER: She talked about coming close to death. I want to play that.
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, "DR. PHIL": When he came back through the door, what did you think would happen then?
KNIGHT: I thought I would be killed.
MCGRAW: What did he do when he back?
KNIGHT: Instead, he unties me, takes me to the basement, ties me to a poll with chains wrapped around it. The chains were so big and he wraps it around my neck. He sits me down on the floor and he says this is where you're going to stay until I can trust you. Now if I do it too tight and you don't make it that means you weren't meant to stay here that means God wanted to take you.
So he proceed to put it on my neck, and then he tied it around my stomach, and he took my hands and bound it behind me, and he took a motorcycle helmet and he put it over my face to where I couldn't breathe at all and later on, I didn't remember a thing because I had passed out.
COOPER: Was there ever a point that she sort of resigned herself to the idea she could be held by this man for the rest of her life?
MCGRAW: I think she never gave up hope, but of course, when days turn into weeks, which turn into months which turn into years, then you begin to get into what I would term as a learned helplessness. You don't seem to have the ability to change your circumstance and how she continued to put one foot in front of the other during these 11 years is just very humbling.
I mean, I said to her during the interview, Michelle, I will never complain about another thing the rest of my life. I mean, when you -- when you realize what she went through, it makes everything else seem so trivial.
COOPER: Did she talk about the day she was rescued, to finally be free and step outside after years of captivity?
MCGRAW: She did, Anderson. It was interesting her point of view. He played so many mind games with her before, when she heard the police in the hallway, her first instinct was to run to them, but then she took pause and thought is this a setup? Is this a trick? She didn't at first believe that it was the police, because after all of those years, you know, why should she believe that they would be there now? I will tell you this and you'll hear more about it in the interview, this was at least the third time the police had been to that house --
MCGRAW: During those 11 years.
COOPER: I did not know that. That's incredible. How is her adjustment before to life outside that prison?
MCGRAW: It's before very difficult for her, but as I say we all believe because an early police report described her as having intellectual disabilities, I don't remember the exact term they used. I kind of went in wondering just what depth and capacity she would have. I found her to be very bright, very articulate with a terrific spirit and really paying off for her now. Think about this, there has been an 11-year gap in her development where she was either held prisoner or was actually locked in isolation chained up in the dark for extended periods of time. So she has a lot of catching up to do.
COOPER: Remarkable survivor. Before we go, I want to take a quick look at the election totals in Virginia governor's race. Ken Cuccinelli hanging to a three-point lead, it's been getting slimmer and slimmer, almost minute by minute. That's it for us. More election night coverage at 10:30 p.m. Eastern and check out the web cast. Go to ac360.com that starts later. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.