Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton Wraps Up Campaign Sprint; Trump Hits Five States on Final Day; First Votes Cast in Dixville Notch. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 8, 2016 - 04:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump is seen as a riskier choice, and many economists feel his policies on things like trade and immigration would hurt the U.S. economy in the long run.

[04:00:03] But in the final hours until the polls open in the east, investors are cautious right now. Dow futures are basically flat. Shares in Europe mixed. They just opened. Modest gains in Asian stock markets overnight.

Part of this too, everyone I talked to in the markets, they want to know what happens in the Senate, what happens to the balance of power of Congress. You know, that is how work gets done no matter who is the president. If the Senate flips, then maybe and it's a Hillary Clinton presidency, maybe they're not so optimistic anymore.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We may not know the results of that until tomorrow.

All right. EARLY START continues right now.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's make history together. Thank you and God bless you.


ROMANS: At the finish line after an election year like no other, will Hillary Clinton make history today?


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we will make America great again. Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you.


BERMAN: Will Donald Trump make history today when all the votes are counted?

ROMANS: The first results are already in. One candidate jumped out to a very early lead on this Election Day 2016. We love New Hampshire. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Tuesday, November 8th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

We do want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Welcome to Election Day 2016.

This is political Thunderdome. Two will enter. One will lead. Four if you count Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. But one will still lead. That's the key message here, one person is leaving, and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are working until the end and in some cases, the bitter end, to make sure they are the ones leaving.

Rallies in key states until the wee hours of the morning and because the state of New Hampshire demands exalted status in any and all voting days, we have the first results from the state of New Hampshire. That in just a moment.

ROMANS: OK. We are all over the Election Day with the battleground states and here in the studio.

First, though, to CNN's Jeff Zeleny, just a short time ago, stepped the campaign -- blah, blah, blah.

BERMAN: It's a tongue twister.

ROMANS: The Clinton campaign plane after a very hectic final day of campaigning with rallies in four cities.

Good morning, Jeff Zeleny.


Hillary Clinton did touchdown here just a short time ago. You can still see the plane behind us. They are still taking things off it. The luggage off it. Her campaign chairman John Podesta moments ago I saw him just walking off the tarmac.

So, Hillary Clinton now is heading home to her house in Chappaqua in Westchester County. And she's going to be voting later this morning. This really comes at the end of, A, an 18-month presidential campaign, but, B, a very long day campaigning, the longest she's had yet. She went from here to Pittsburgh to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Philadelphia, to Raleigh, North Carolina and then back here again. Trying to give a sense of spirit and energy and she had a couple hundred people waiting for her when she arrived.

Now, on this campaign flight from Raleigh, North Carolina, here to Westchester, she was speaking with her husband, the former president was on this plane with her and some aides. She did not come back and talk to reporters. But her aides say that she is in good spirits, and she is feeling confident about the results coming up throughout the day as Americans who have not already voted decide to vote today at the polls. And they believe that they have turned a corner from that tough

stretch about ten days or so ago with that FBI bombshell. They believe they have turned a corner. But they are still eyeing some challenging states. North Carolina is the tightest of all of them, they believe.

But Hillary Clinton was greeting supporters here and had a bounce in her step. She is a bit pessimistic and paranoid. So, one aide said she did not want to talk about anything with reporters on the plane because she wants to allow the election to happen here and get a bit of sleep and she will be voting here in a couple hours time -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: Jeff Zeleny for us on the tarmac in White Plains, Westchester County Airport, on fumes. Jeff, always great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: Get a few winks. It will be a long day and a long night, Jeff.

Hillary Clinton's last rally of the campaign was in Raleigh, North Carolina where she was backed by some high wattage star power. In addition to Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Secretary Clinton was joined on stage by Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga.

And CNN's Phil Mattingly was there. He has the latest on the campaign finale.

Good morning, Phil.


I wasn't on stage with them. I think it was just a mishap in terms of communication. I called in. I thought I would be the third hand in "Living on a Prayer" duet.

[04:05:02] It just didn't quite fit in the schedule, something definitely is going to happen in the future.

Look, Zeleny gave you kind o the map. I think another important element of the day and one shouldn't be overlooked is the message. And you saw a shift today from Hillary Clinton in all four of her stops. Gone was kind of the systematic dismantling of Donald Trump with the attacks.

In its place was really trying to lay out the stakes and lay the path for the future if she wins. Take a listen.


CLINTON: When your kids and grand kids ask what you did in 2016 when everything was on the line, you'll be able to say you voted for a stronger, fairer, better America.


An America where we build bridges, not walls.



MATTINGLY: Guys, underscoring the moment this actually is, but also talking a lot about healing and bringing the nation back together after this particularly divisive campaign. There's a shift and an intentional one, her aides say. In it very clear, if they win tonight, which her team, her campaign expects, they realize they've got to govern as president-elect and then as president on January 20th. They need to start laying the ground work to get the country back together again -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: And not much Lady Gaga or Jon Bon Jovi can do to help with that.

All right. Phil Mattingly for us in North Carolina, thanks so much.

Donald Trump, he is back home this morning. He will cast his vote in New York. He hit five states in about 12 hours, finishing overnight in Michigan, declaring this is our independence day.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is here with us in New York, to give us a sense of what happened over those 12 hours.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Donald Trump just wrapped up his last rally after 1:00 a.m. this morning, to indicate how long of a campaign day it really was. And he just arrived back here in New York, landing at JFK. Not the pomp and circumstance that we saw with Hillary Clinton landing though.

But at his final rally, we did see a Donald Trump get a little reflective calling it quite the long journey indeed, 511 days since he declared his candidacy for president.

What we got in the closing message was classic vintage Donald Trump. He argued against the rigged system. He attacked corrupt Washington establishment and, of course, he went after Hillary Clinton. But it did seem he made an effort to try to strike an optimistic tone at the end.

Here is part of the closing message in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


TRUMP: I'm asking you to dream big because with your vote, 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 to 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 anticipated that Donald Trump will cast his vote later in New York this morning. He will watch returns from Trump Tower for most of the day and at some point move to his hotel in Midtown Manhattan where he has his watch party set up.

Now, this is interesting, John and Christine, his watch party, Hillary Clinton's party only 1.5 miles away from each other. Certainly an interesting dynamic with the two candidates so close tonight in New York.

BERMAN: You know, city officials were briefing people on security measures. It is all happening right here within a mile of each other. So, they've got to be ready for that.

Sunlen Serfaty, great to have you here. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. The first votes of the nation have already been cast this morning in the tiny town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. Polls opened there at midnight. That lovely tradition, they closed at 12:01. It is a tradition dating back to 1860, excuse me, only in New Hampshire.

Let's bring in CNN's Rachel Crane live from Dixville Notch.

Good morning, Rachel.


Well, it was in this room that those early votes were cast. Now, there are only eight registered voters here in Dixville Notch. So, it took minutes to tally up the votes.

The results are in. Hillary Clinton receiving four of the eight votes. Trump just two. Johnson with one and actually one of the residents of Dixville Notch actually wrote in Mitt Romney.

The reason that this midnight voting this takes place because New Hampshire has a weird law that Dixville Notch takes advantage of, saying that if the town has less than 100 people, the polls can close early if all of the registered voters have voted. And Dixville Notch isn't the only town that does this in New Hampshire. There is Hart's Location, as well as Mills Field.

And, Christine. I should point out that while Clinton did win the vote here in Dixville Notch, Trump is actually beating her with these early votes.

[04:10:06] Trump has 32 votes, Clinton has 25. So, Trump, he has those bragging rights here in New Hampshire until the polls open in just two hours -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that, Rachel Crane -- only in New Hampshire.

BERMAN: Only in New Hampshire, because they demand it. That's the way it works. ROMANS: I love it.

BERMAN: They get really mad if you take it away from them.

ROMANS: All right. It's in the hands of the voters now. Both candidates campaigning seriously in their final hours on the trail, making their case to the American people that they belong in the White House. The closing arguments in the race for the ages, ahead on EARLY START.

BERMAN: All right. You want a chance to be featured on CNN's Election Day coverage? Tag your voting Instagrams with #myvote, and let us know who you voted for and where.

ROMANS: Do not take a picture of the polls in Ohio.

BERMAN: Exactly. Like make sure you're not breaking the law because in some states, you can't do it. We're not encouraging law breaking, officially at least.

We will show the selfies throughout the day here on CNN.



[04:15:15] CLINTON: Tomorrow, we face the test of our time. What will we vote for? Not just against. What will we decide is on the ballot because although my name and my opponent's name may be on the ballot, every issue you care about is on that ballot.

TRUMP: So, now, it's up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box tomorrow. You got to get out and vote. Let's swamp them. Pennsylvania, let's swamp them. You got to get out.


ROMANS: There they are. The closing arguments of these two candidates.

It is 4:16 in the East. This is our special Election Day coverage.

I want to bring in our guest, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, John Phillips, former Bernie Sanders press secretary and Clinton supporter, Symone Sanders, senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES", and Ellis Henican, best- selling author and "Newsday" columnist.

You guys, that was a TV-palooza yesterday. There were so many live events, there were so many speeches, there were so many surrogates, there were so many things to say on the last day.

Brian Stelter, in a word or two, what were the tones of these two candidates?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: We capture the essence of both of the candidates. Both of them showing they have the stamina for the office. Donald Trump on his own, this fighter captured in his essence. And Hillary Clinton surrounded by the past, President Obama, and who she hopes is the future, herself as the president.

BERMAN: I wonder what you, guys, think we should look for tonight. What are the early signs that this is breaking one way or the other?

Ellis, you first.

ELLIS HENICAN, NEWSDAY COLUMNIST: First of all, we go by the candidate's demeanor. I mean, we're human beings. We look at people and we think we see something in their faces.

I mean, come on. This is the age of data. We will know a lot of stuff as the day goes in, right? We'll know who is turning out at the polls, which is something we did not know in the advanced polling.

We'll know how they cast their ballots, how they actually did. We'll know whether those third and fourth party candidates tilted in one direction or another, and poll those from one candidate or another. I got to say, I love the body language and the tone, but we may really have to dig in data as the day goes on.

ROMANS: And we want people to vote. We want people to go out and cast their votes. It is so incredibly important. You don't want to be parsing too much early data, you know, because you don't want to impress the vote.

SYMONE SANDERS, FORMER BERNIE SANDERS PRESS SECRETARY: Exactly. You definitely don't want to look like no one, no one wants to accuse from Donald Trump at the media putting their hands on the scale of this election.

I think what they are looking for is New Hampshire specifically, no early vote in New Hampshire. New Hampshire voters on choice independents, they make up their minds literally today. Folks make up their minds and go to the polls.

I look at the college students in New Hampshire. College students during the primary on the Democratic side, the first time in two cycles that students were in school during the primary voting season. There were literally buses from the polling places to the campuses. If we see that today, and if so, students will have the ability to tip the scales one way or another. I think it's very important.

BERMAN: I do believe children are the future.

John Phillips, what are you going to --


BERMAN: I think it is Whitney Houston.

SANDERS: It was Whitney.

PHILLIPS: He likes it in a different way. BERMAN: No, no, no. All right.

PHILLIPS: I'm going to be looking at Pennsylvania because if Donald Trump is going to win the election, he's going to have to win in a place he is not supposed to win. Pennsylvania is a state where he spent a lot of time as this campaign has come to the finish line. It's also a state where people vote on Election Day. There is no early voting there.

And if you look at the polls, not just the national ones, but the state ones as well, Trump does much better with voters who plan on voting on Election Day as opposed to early voting.

So, if there is a place he can pull off an upset, Pennsylvania is going to be it.

ROMANS: Let's talk about the early voting a little bit, because we were talking about this earlier. It's remarkable. Forty million people have already cast their votes.

SANDERS: Yes, people are tuning in to this election. So, I think there was a narrative early on that folks weren't paying attention. There was no enthusiasm.

I think the early vote numbers are dispelling that myth right now. Particularly in Florida where 1 million Latino voters have gone to the polls. In Nevada, where there have been unprecedented numbers, really long lines and lines at the Republican Party and Nevada isn't necessarily too happy about.

But there is voter enthusiasm. I think we have to give credit to Latino voters that are coming out in force because I really thought that maybe Donald Trump assumed he could talk about Latino voters and they would take it.

[04:20:01] And they're not. They are showing up at the polls and making their voices heard -- not just in the presidential election, but down ballot, and that's really important.

BERMAN: More people have voted in the state of Florida already than the entire year of 2000, which is an important year in Florida.

All right. Guys, stick around. A lot more to discuss.

More than 6 million people voted in Florida already. The stakes are pretty high because Florida occasionally does matter in presidential elections. We will check in, in the Sunshine State, when we come back.


BERMAN: So, Florida, it occasionally matters in presidential elections.

[04:25:01] Twenty-nine electoral votes up for grabs and it is close. Really close. CNN's Nick Valencia live in Tallahassee this morning.

Good morning, Nick.


Already, a record-breaking turnout here. More people have cast ballots in the early voting in 2016 than voted in the entire election year in Florida in the year 2000. We'll put that into context. A lot of it has to do with newly arrived residents.

Since 2000, 3 million more people live here in the state of Florida, many of them Latino voters who have also turned out in record numbers. We saw an 89 percent increase since the 2008 election and the sleeping giant, the so-called sleeping giant could finally prove to be very pivotal in this crucial swing state.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump feel as though they can win the state. They spent a lot of money here, spent a lot of time. And of the 6 million ballots or so that have been cast in the state of Florida, it is neck and neck. The good news in all of this, no reports of voter irregularities, no reports of voter fraud, so perhaps we won't see happen in the 2000 election.

Also if you remember in 2012, we saw the long lines, even after President Obama was declared a victor, people were still voting. I talked to election county supervisor here, he says there are fewer amendments on the ballot, which means it should go a lot more smoothly this time around -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: Let's hope. Nick Valencia for us in Tallahassee, which is a city that's part of past campaign hall of fames. Thanks, man.

ROMANS: A lot of trips to Florida, ad dollars spent in Florida. Floridians have been inundated with this election. Thanks, Nick.

What a long, strange trip it's been. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton frantically criss-crossing the battleground states. They make their final pitch to people and they arrive home. The first election results are in.

All that and more straight ahead on EARLY START.