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Candidates Campaign Hard in Final Day; Trump Back in NYC; Millions of Floridians Have Already Cast Ballots in Early Voting. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired November 8, 2016 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All but Donald Trump looks for an upset victory when the votes are counted tonight.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And the first results they are already in. And one candidate jump out to a very early lead on this Election Day.
Thank goodness, predicts (Inaudible). We have a lot to talk about.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.
ROMANS: There is plenty to talk about. I'm Christine Romans this morning. It is Tuesday, it is Election Day, November 8th. That is 3 a.m. in the East. We welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.
Zero more days until the election. Zero more hours, in fact, zero more rallies, zero more debate, zero more October surprises. Zero more November reversals. But thank goodness we still have a countdown clock.
The candidates campaigned themselves silly just a short time ago state after state, stop after stop. From Bon Jovi to Bill Belichick, at least is that pen pal. The candidates throwing every bit of energy and every bit of star power they could muster for a final sprint. After an effort like this, at least we -- the least we can do is have the countdown clock right there on the right side of your screen.
But wait, there's more the first election results are in, that alert coming in just moments.
BERMAN: All right. We are all over this pre-dawn election with the candidates in battleground states. We are here in the studio, as well. Let's go to first to CNN's Phil Mattingly in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hillary Clinton finished up her final campaign stop just a short time ago. Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right, John. Just a couple of hours ago the official campaigning came, maybe you could say mercifully to an end. What it comes down to today, Hillary Clinton is actually not back in New York yet. Her schedule ran a little bit long so she is still in the air. She
will land, she will go to vote this morning near her home in Chappaqua and then all eyes will be on the Javits Center. That's where she is going to be having her election night party, that's where everybody is going to be waiting to see if history has made and if it is, what she has to say about it.
But before she had to do that it was a closing pitch. And guys, we've been paying very close attention obviously to every word she's been saying over the course of her 18-month campaign. Today, a very different tone. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When your kid and grand kids ask what you did in 2016 when everything was on the line you will be able to say you voted for a stronger, better, fairer America.
On America where we build bridges, not walls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And John, what was interesting is the message from Grand Rapids to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to right here in Raleigh was not a systemic tearing down of Donald Trump, which we've seen so much over the course of the last couple of months.
Instead, it was laying out the stake into laying an optimistic case. Even talking about an inclusive country, healing the country after this very damaging last election cycle, I guess you would say.
That was the shift and it was one by design aide say they recognize if Hillary Clinton wins tonight, there is going to be a lot of healing it has to be done, and more importantly, a lot of governing that has to be done and trying to close that gap here.
And how do you try and close that gap, how do you try and close out a campaign in a midnight rally in a huge swing state like North Carolina which both sides acknowledge is still very much so a tossup. John, you'll be happy to know my lifelong dream of attending a Lady Gaga it happened on the campaign trail just a couple of hours ago.
BERMAN: Thank goodness for that, Phil. We are so happy for your bucket list, check that one off.
ROMANS: He took a lot for him to earn that concert though.
BERMAN: Yes, that's right.
ROMANS: He's been flying for a year. All right. Thank you. Donald Trump is back home this morning. He will cast his vote here in
New York City. He hit five states in about 12 hours overnight. Finishing in Michigan by declaring this is our Independence Day.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is here with the very latest for us this morning. Sunlen?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, guys. Well, yes, Trump just finished his last rally shortly after 1 a.m. He is now in the air flying back to New York right now. And as he campaigned on his final day he seemed a little confident.
He said point blank he thinks he is going to win today. He also got a little reflective about time saying it has been 511 days since he first declared his candidacy for president and said it has certainly been a very long journey out there.
[03:04:58] And as he went around and made his final pitch to voters in the five states that he hit all day yesterday, he seemed determined to try to end on an optimistic note, striking a tone of hope at times. Here's his final pitch just a few hours ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm asking you to dream big because with your votes we are just hours away from the change you've been waiting for your entire life.
So, to every parent who dreams for their child and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight, I am with you. I will fight for you, and I will win for you. I promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: Now it is expected that Donald Trump will cast his vote today in New York at some point this morning. He also will watch returns for part of the day in Trump Tower and then will move over to his watch party in a hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Now guys, that is only 1.5 miles away from Hillary Clinton's watch party tonight. So, certainly an interesting dynamic going on between them tonight, two candidates so very close.
BERMAN: It's so interesting. New York, you know, not consider as a swing state. We don't get much actual campaigning here but both campaign ending back up here, 1.5 miles from each other. All right, Sunlen, great to have you with us.
All right. The first votes in the nation they have already been cast this morning in the tiny town of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire. It's a big day on that primary day. A big day here as well. Polls opened there at midnight, they close till 12.01 a.m. This is a tradition dating back to 1960.
Only in New Hampshire to make it to have these traditions. They hang on to traditions like no other place fiercely, defiantly, angrily.
Let's bring in CNN's Rachel Crane, live from Dixville Notch this morning. All right, Rachel, give us the results.
ROMANS: Hi, Rachel.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, they certainly are clinging to this tradition here. And right now I am in an empty room. But at midnight this room was buzzing with activity. There were tons of media and eight residents of Dixville Notch casting those, you know, some of the first ballots cast on Election Day of 2016.
Those votes were tallied minutes following. And this is how it broke down. Hillary Clinton receiving four of the eight votes here in Dixville Notch. Trump two and then there was one Dixville Notch resident who actually wrote in Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson getting also one vote here.
But Dixville notch is not the only town here in New Hampshire that engages in this practice of midnight voting. It also happens in Hart's Location, as well as Millsfield.
And I should say, though, that collectively in this midnight voting towns, Trump is actually beating Hillary Clinton. The votes break down to Trump 32, Hillary Clinton 25. But certainly as they pointed out right now it might be a little dead here, John, but before it was wild.
BERMAN: Dixville Notch they know how to party at midnight on Election Day, as we try too.
CRANE: They do.
BERMAN: We try, too, Rachel. All right.
ROMANS: Every vote counts no matter where you are. We'll be here with continuing -- continuous election coverage.
BERMAN: And continual.
ROMANS: Yes. And all through election night. Every race, every result. Stay with CNN until the very last vote is counted.
BERMAN: All right. It is all the in the hands of the voters now. But both candidates left nothing to chance. They were on the trail until just a short time ago. The final sprint trying to make their case to voters. Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.
[03:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BERMAN: All right. It is 3.12 a.m. on the East Coast of America. This is our special Election Day coverage. What a day this will be. I want to bring in our guest, CNN political commentator Donald Trump
supporter John Phillips who does a slew of things including hosting a radio show on KABC in Los Angeles.
Former Bernie Sanders press secretary and Hillary Clinton supporter, Symone Sanders is with us, CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter who is the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", and Ellis Henican, bestselling author and news day columnist.
Symone, people don't get to hear our simulating conversations during the break, but Christine Romans was wondering if you work on a campaign what the hell do you do now, right? I mean, people are actually voting. You, you know, you've work for Bernie Sanders in the primaries on these voting days, what's going on right now?
SYMONE SANDERS, FMR. BERNIE SANDER'S NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY: You go vote. So, you take your candidate, you take the press and you go vote. The candidate usually addresses the press, because it's a little rah, rah, way, it's great. And then sometimes go to breakfast with family and friends, and special surrogates and notable celebs that are in town.
Then you do a lot of retail politics, you hit in the streets, you probably hit a barbershop, a beauty shop, you, maybe outside of a school. And not too close to polling booths because you are abiding laws and then then you go away.
So, your candidate goes down for a bit of the day because he or she needs to prepare and get ready for the evening. But regardless, whether you think you are going into this day winner or losing you have to get out there today. Like you get out there and you just give it your all because this could be your last day as a candidate.
ROMANS: What's remarkable as the last day as a candidate for both of these people a mile and a half away from each other right here in New York City...
ROMANS: ... which is so fascinating. You know, I want to talk a little bit about the tone of this campaign and Hillary Clinton last night spoke about the tone and she regrets the tone of this entire campaign. Let's listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We have to bridge the divides in our country. I regret deeply how angry the tone of the campaign became.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not your fault.
And by the way, did any of you see those debates?
Well, I stood next to Donald Trump for four and half hours proving conclusively I have the stamina to be president and commander in chief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[03:15:08] ROMANS: Brian Stelter, in terms of the tone of this campaign over the past five or six days, 70,000 TV ads have played, 92 percent of them negative. Only 8 percent with any kind of positive -- 8 or 10 percent had any kind of positive message, that's according to a counter who follows all of this.
Today is about voting, Brian Stelter, but tomorrow it's going to be about what kind of tone is left in the country still, isn't it?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And hopefully the candidates can play a leadership role, both the candidates can play a leadership role in that regard. I would just point out hyper polarization was happening before Trump, before Clinton.
STELTER: This has been happening for years. It's been getting worse, partly because of our media echo chamber and partly because of our social media lives. But these candidates should have a leadership role to play and I hope both of them will. In what about 28, 19 hours, let's say with time the race gets called.
BERMAN: So, you heard Hillary Clinton there talking about the debate a little subtle jab at Donald Trump.
BERMAN: The media dates sort of spinning that Hillary Clinton was more positive in this last 24 hours. Donald Trump he stayed on the attack. Let's play a little bit of what Donald Trump had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are finally going to close the history books on the Clintons and their lies and schemes and corruption. We will open a bright new chapter, focus on you the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It is enough, John Phillips, when is said and done, is this enough. Donald Trump in Grand Rapids, Michigan there his last event of the day, trying to turn that blue state red.
JOHN PHILLIPS, KABC TALK RADIO HOST: Right. And I think that what we are seeing in this election maybe the seeds of what we see in future elections. We had a realignment of the presidential lines when Barry Goldwater ran in the south which was solidly behind FDR and the democrats for years and years and years then moved closer to the republican column, and now we consider that really the base of the Republican Party. I think what we could see after this election is a shift where the
democrats become more competitive in the Sun Belt and the republicans shift their base to places like Iowa. Indiana is a state that President Obama won in 2008. That will probably be the first state that comes in tonight for Donald Trump. Maybe even states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan on the horizon could be the base of the Republican Party.
BERMAN: I think he were to the horizon there, right. Even if Donald Trump doesn't win tonight, it's possible...
BERMAN: ... that you are seeing the beginnings of a shift here, a real true political shift here.
BERMAN: Worth watching.
ROMANS: Let's talk about the early voting because people have been out there voting in past days. I want to look at some of these tallies. We're talking about 40 million people. Votes cast in 39 states. Democrats looked like they lead in Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada.
Guys, when I look at the early vote in Florida in particular, it is astonishing to me the change in Hispanics, 89 percent in early voting over 2008. And just a total -- total tally in some of these numbers.
Ellis Henican, what are you learning from this, the early voting? What does that tell you about what's happening in this race?
ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you're certainly right to focus on the Latinos. I mean, that's the huge explosion. Unfortunately, it has seemed to be a little bit of a dip in African- American early voting.
ROMANS: In North Carolina.
HENICAN: In North Carolina and that was the one that has the Clinton campaign a little bit nervous. To me, this one lingering question that we don't always address here. We think we know base on party registration how those votes are going to line up, and overall, it's at least a slight plus for the dems.
But what we still don't know is how many of those people would have voted any way on Election Day. You know, it's better to get your voters out early because you know they vote. But if all you are doing is creating great effort in order to shift someone's vote from one day to the other you haven't really made that much of a net gain. We're going to have to learn how that plays out after we see this ultimate results.
BERMAN: Yes. The classy political phrase is cannibalization.
HENICAN: Yes, exactly.
BERMAN: I mean, how many -- how many election votes have been cannibalized in early voting. We may have to work on that one four years from now final a classier term.
All right, guys, stick around.
ROMANS: All right. We'll talk more about Florida. More than six million people have already voted in Florida. The stakes could not be higher. Twenty nine electoral votes up for grabs in the sunshine state. Whoever wins is likely to wind up in the White House. Who can take the ride for the critical battleground state of Florida next?
BERMAN: Have I mentioned we are live right now covering this election. And these are live pictures from White Plains, New York. This is the West Chester County Airport, a lovely place if I may add by the way, in case you are wondering.
Moments from now, Hillary Clinton will be landing in her campaign -- you know I'm going to say.
ROMANS: It's a campaign.
BERMAN: Because she will be greeted by these supporters. We can expect maybe to hear some words from Secretary Clinton on this election morn. Stick around.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROMANS: Florida has been there before. The sunshine state with just 29 electoral votes could decide the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Millions of Floridians have already cast their ballots in early voting. The race going in said to be too close to call. Polls across the state set to open in just a few hours.
CNN's Nick Valencia is there, he is live in Tallahassee this morning. Certainly folks in Florida have seen a lot of TV ads and they've had a lot of visits from these candidates and their surrogates.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. They have been flooded. Their air waves have been flooded anyway. Lots of ad dollars spent here, lots of trips for the candidate and a record-breaking turnout for Floridian voters. Already more people have voted in this early round of voting in 2016 than the entire 2000 election combined.
A lot of that has to do, we'll give you some context with the millions of newly arrived residents.
[03:25:02] More than three million newly residents since 2000. And a lot of people are Latinos. And they are also voting in record numbers 89 percent increase since the 2008 election. But I don't have to tell you, Christine, it is a complicated group
here. On the West Coast, traditionally, Latino community tends to vote more democratic. Here it is much more nuanced. You have older Cubans who are more established with republicans at odds with the younger Cubans who very well could vote republican as well.
Adding to that mix is and influx of Puerto Ricans who have flooded the i-4 Corridor. That could be good news for Hillary Clinton. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton feel that this state is within reach. Those 29 electoral votes up for grabs.
And we should mention also this record-breaking voting, six million votes, more than six million already cast. The Secretary of State's Office says there have been no reports of voter irregularities, no report of voter fraud. That's a good news. They expect more of the same here Tuesday. Christine?
ROMANS: All right. Nick Valencia in the sunshine state. Thank you so much for that. Nick, we'll check with you, very, very soon.
BERMAN: So, a long, strange trip. And he's been -- we just got word by the way, that the trip, at least the travel, just ended for Hillary Clinton. We just got word she touched down at the White Plains Airport, West Chester Airport, in White Plains that you are looking at the silhouette of the Hillary Clinton campaign plane.
It is rolling down the tarmac, about to be greeted by supporters. We'll take a quick break. On the other side we'll hear what she had to say.
ROMANS: Our breaking news. You are looking at West Chester County Airport at White Plains, New York. Hillary Clinton coming home. This is her home airport where her plane has just landed. Both of these candidates coming home to vote. This is Election Day.
[03:29:57] BERMAN: All right. John Berman here alongside Christine Romans. We will watch as Hillary Clinton deplanes there at the West Chester County Airport. A long, long day for Hillary Clinton. She just had a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, now returning home.
We're waiting for Jeff Zeleny who is on the press plane to get to a camera to tell us what that has been like.