Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Standing By For Polls to Close in Six States. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 8, 2016 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Finish line.

The presidential candidates and their surrogates, they are fanning out across the country tonight in the final hours of this unprecedented race for the White House. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are firing up their supporters, but are they motivating their opponents as well?

The last word. The Trump and Clinton campaigns both are making heavy investments in last-minute ads, buying prime-time slots to deliver extended appeals to voters. Tonight, as they make their final arguments for themselves and against each other, will talking directly to voters make a difference?

Motivating the base. The presidential candidates push to get their most ardent supporters out to the polls tomorrow, Trump focusing in on the white working-class voters who have catapulted him to the GOP nomination, while Clinton targets minority voters at the heart of the Democratic Party.

Will both sides come through for their candidate?

And all night long. The stars are out as the candidates and their biggest supporters barnstorm through the battleground states late into the night and even into Election Day. CNN is live around the country to bring you all the excitement and all the tension.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news on this election eve, as we count down to tomorrow's historic vote for president of the United States. Tonight, the candidates are fighting to the finish for every last vote, especially in the handful of battleground states that could decide tomorrow's outcome.

We just heard from President Obama campaigning for Hillary Clinton, and we're now standing by to hear from Donald Trump this hour in Pennsylvania. He's already held rallies today in Florida and North Carolina. Later tonight, he will team up with his running mate, Mike Pence, for two more rallies, first in New Hampshire, finally in Michigan. Hillary Clinton's campaign will put out a Democratic show of force

with the candidate and her family joined by the president and the first lady at a star-studded rally in Philadelphia. Clinton then goes on to North Carolina for a late-night rally. And both campaigns are spending millions and millions of dollars on extended prime-time television ads airing tonight.

Clinton's two-minute appeal features her speaking directly to voters, while Trump has him railing against what he calls the political establishment, while showing images of Clinton, President Obama and others.

And in a final picture of the race, as it stands right now, our CNN poll of polls shows Hillary Clinton four points ahead of Donald Trump nationwide 46-42 percent.

We're covering all of that, much more this hour, this election with our guesting, including Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by as we get ready for a critical, critical election.

Let's begin right now with the Clinton campaign.

Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is in Philadelphia for us.

Jeff, Hillary Clintons is about to hold a big rally there with the president and the first lady. But it won't be her last stop of the night.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Obamas and the Clintons will be here on Independence Mall in Philadelphia for what Democrats hope is a passing of the torch. But before that is known, the Clinton campaign has a nervous eye on so many battleground states. That's why Hillary Clinton is flying to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a midnight rally hour before the polls open.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is racing through blue states in her fight to the finish.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't do any of this without your help tomorrow. This election is going to really set the course of our country.

ZELENY: From Pennsylvania to Michigan and back again.

AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

CLINTON: So for those who are still making up your minds or thinking maybe, maybe it's not worth voting at all, let me just say the choice in this election could not be clearer.

ZELENY: On the eve of the election, she's still working to shore up two states Democrats have won in the last six presidential races, but this is a race like no other, and Democrats are pulling out all the stops to derail Donald Trump and his message for change.

President Obama also hitting Michigan and New Hampshire before joining Clinton tonight on Independence Mall here in Philadelphia. Today, it seemed like he, not just his legacy, is on the ticket.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My credibility I have earned after eight years as president, I'm asking you to trust me on this one.

ZELENY: An unprecedented fall of campaigning by a sitting president and first lady, trying to pull Clinton over the finish line. The fight against Trump is also personal.

[18:05:01]

OBAMA: It's bad being arrogant when you know what you're talking about. But it's really bad being arrogant when you don't know what you're talking about.

ZELENY: Heading into Election Day, the CNN poll of polls gives Clinton a four-point edge nationally, but it's far tighter in battlegrounds like Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

The Clinton campaign exuded more confidence today in the wake of another FBI bombshell, this time Director James Comey clearing Clinton again over her e-mails. She didn't mention it at all today, as she tried looking forward.

CLINTON: I know that people are frustrated. A lot of people feel left out and left behind. There's fear, even anger in our country. But I have got to say, anger is not a plan, my friends.

ZELENY: On the brink of history, as the country decides whether to elect its first woman president, Clinton is trying to end on a high note, as she started more than 18 months ago, with this announcement video.

CLINTON: I hope you will join me on this journey.

ZELENY: Tonight, a new two-minute ad is airing, with Clinton acknowledging a far bumpier journey than she imagined back take .

CLINTON: I want to be a president for all Americans, not just for those who support me in this election, for everyone, because we all have a role to play in building a stronger, fairer America.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: Now, it was an extraordinary day on the campaign trail, Wolf, in terms of the history of this country. Never have we seen a sitting American president and a first lady campaigning so much for someone they want to be their successor.

In New Hampshire, a short time ago, President Obama almost sounded as though she was running again. He was nostalgic and wistful, telling that old story from Edith Childs, the South Carolina woman who fired him up back in 2007 with an anthem for his campaign, "Fired up, ready to go." He talked about that today.

Wolf, he was trying to transfer some of that energy and some of that enthusiasm onto the Clinton campaign. And, tonight, they still need it, Wolf. They're keeping an eye on several battleground states, hoping the president can help pull her across the finish line with a bigger margin of victory than she might even have otherwise.

They're already looking towards governing, but that only happens, Wolf, if she wins tomorrow -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That is an accurate point, Jeff Zeleny in Philadelphia for us. They're getting ready for a huge event there.

Donald Trump, meanwhile,, is also on a whirlwind campaign swing this election eve with stops in five states.

CNN political reporter Sara Murray is in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump's next stop.

Sara, Trump will be joined by his running mate, Mike Pence, for his -- for the last of two rallies of the night.

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.

This was originally going to be Donald Trump's last rally of the night before his campaign earlier tacked earlier -- that he tacked on a stop in Michigan. And that gives you an indication of how Donald Trump, with his jampacked schedule today, even though he been in high energy, even though he's been in good spirits on the trail, his campaign acknowledges that, look, there is no simple, easy path for him to hit 270 tomorrow. It's going to be a steep slope.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY involve Donald Trump is closing out his 2016 presidential bid at a breakneck pace.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the last day of our campaign. Who would have believed it?

MURRAY: And relishing in his evolution from political newcomer.

TRUMP: I'm not a politician. My only special interest is you.

MURRAY: To presidential candidate, with just hours left to woo voters.

TRUMP: With your vote, we are just one day away from the change you have been waiting for your entire life.

MURRAY: The reality-TV-star-turned-GOP-nominee stretching his Sunday campaign schedule past midnight with his typical Trump flare. TRUMP: Hillary right now is fast asleep. She's sleeping so

beautifully.

MURRAY: Today, he's touching down in five more battleground states, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan, and tapping supporters from his children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., to Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani to round out his sprint to the finish.

On the trail today, Trump expressing frustration at losing his preferred political attack, after FBI Director James Comey reiterated his opinion that Hillary Clinton shouldn't face criminal charges.

TRUMP: The FBI, the director, was obviously under tremendous pressure. So they went through 650,000 e-mails in eight days. Yes, right.

MURRAY: In the waning hours, our CNN poll of polls shows Trump is in the hunt with 42 percent support nationwide, but still trailing Clinton's 46 percent.

TRUMP: I see she's doing fine, I'm doing fine in the polls and all that stuff. I don't know how. Nobody goes to her rallies.

MURRAY: And early voting in pivotal battleground states shows an uptick in Latino turnout. The candidate who entered the race with this message:

[18:10:07]

TRUMP: When Mexico spends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

MURRAY: Is now making a final plea to Hispanic voters.

TRUMP: To all of our wonderful Hispanic communities in this state, I want you to know that you will have a true friend and champion in Donald Trump. That, I can tell you.

MURRAY: And relishing in the lighter moments on the campaign trail amid his high-stakes sprint to the finish.

TRUMP: Nice head of hair, I will say that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, Wolf, it's hard to overstate the improbable path that led to Donald Trump, this billionaire businessman, crashing through the field of Republican candidates and beating the Republicans to take on Hillary Clinton.

And New Hampshire, right here, is where he got his first victory in the primaries as a presidential candidate. So it will be interesting to see when he does show up here tonight if any of that nostalgia seeps through on the campaign trail -- Wolf. BLITZER: We will of course stand by for live coverage of that this

hour. Sara, thanks very much.

Let's get some more with our correspondents and our political experts.

Gloria, Donald Trump, he's got a huge challenge in these next two speeches that are coming up, one this hour, one a bit later tonight. He's done five of them. He's showing he does have remarkable energy.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's trying to turn out his base, to turn out the Trump voters they believe they might be hidden in a lot of these blue states.

He needs to break through that blue wall. Certainly, at the end of this campaign, you can't say that Donald Trump hasn't been energetic about trying to reach every potential voter he can possibly reach. The Republican National Committee has a great get-out-the-vote effort this year, as opposed to 2012, when there was a great deficit on that score.

So I think what we see Donald Trump doing and I think what we see his campaign doing is seeing a whole dozen or more states they believe are within a margin of error. You can talk to pollsters about it, they might disagree. But this is their shot. Tomorrow is the day, and they're going to go all out to gather that base and to close on an argument, I believe, they believe, has worked for them.

BLITZER: Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I think you're right. It is important to give Donald Trump his due in terms of the stamina. I mean, I'm not 70, and I can't even imagine doing what he's doing.

Now, you're also pumped up by adrenaline. Both candidates are. You talked about the fact that he's really going around and trying to energize his base. But I think, at this point, it's a two-way street. He is a performer and he's energized by the crowds. There's no question about it.

That is almost entirely what he focuses on when he is going to an event, when he's coming from an event, when he's talking to his aides. It's all about the crowds, the crowds, the crowds. He talks about it during the event as well. So he clearly wants to finish leaving nothing on the field, and I think that's clearly what this is about.

The fact that Michigan is one of his final states today, I do think is fascinating. If he could come close, closer than Republicans have been able to come in a generation, it would be noteworthy and I think very telling as to the demographic split in this election.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, he may win Ohio, which is a huge prize in the Industrial Midwest.

There is a shift in -- a demographic shift in this country and the base of the Democratic Party has shifted away from the Industrial Midwest and to states like Virginia and Colorado and Nevada and maybe Florida, and maybe Florida.

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: But what you say is so true. He's trying to energize his base.

And what the problem has been for Donald Trump from the beginning is, his base is not large enough to win a general election. And he has to -- he had to be about the business of expanding that base. And the question remains as we sit here tonight, is there some miraculous path to do that?

BLITZER: He has been different these past couple of weeks, you have got to admit.

AXELROD: Oh, yes.

BLITZER: Very disciplined, reading those scripts, not tweeting.

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: We have seen this twice in this campaign. He had a disastrous August. His campaign was all but written off. He went on the teleprompter. He showed discipline. Then the debates came. They went badly for him. He misbehaved in between debates.

When the debates ended, he got back on -- after the tape debacle, he got back on the prompter, was very disciplined, focused, a message aimed at Republican voters, consolidated the Republican base to a large degree. So that's largely why this race is close.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: David Swerdlick, you have got to admit, Donald Trump with no real political experience, he beat 16 Republican candidates, senators, governors for the nomination, and now he's giving Hillary Clinton the run of her life in this campaign.

DAVID SWERDLICK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, as a first-time candidate, he's demonstrated a lot of political skills, retail political skills, if not the organizational skills behind the scene.

[18:15:08]

To Dana's point, I think both candidates have left it all out on the field. The other day when Secretary Clinton was out in the rain campaigning, it reminded me a little bit of President Obama about a week before the 2008 Election Day, when he was out campaigning in the rain.

People will remember him in Pennsylvania in that windbreaker, the same thing, kind of that sense that they have given it all they have and now it's really up to the voters.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, you have to admit that he's stunned not only the United States, but the world with his success so far. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's really an astonishing

story when you think about the only other non-politician to be the nominee of the Republican Party in recent decades was Dwight Eisenhower. And all he did was win the most important war in the history of the world.

And the other person who won the Republican nomination is Donald Trump. Historians are going to be evaluating this for a very long time, win or lose. I do think, though, to quote George W. Bush, when we say he's reading the teleprompter, that might be the soft bigotry of low expectations.

We are saluting him for reading every word that comes up on the teleprompter.

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: They suspended his Twitter account.

BLITZER: Access to his Twitter account.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: All right, we're going to have live coverage of Donald Trump's speech. That's coming up. We're getting ready for that.

We heard from the president of the United States in the last hour. When Donald Trump goes to the microphones there in Scranton, Pennsylvania, we will hear from him.

But, Jim Sciutto, you have been tracking potential threats on this Election Day here in the United States, specifically cyber-threats. What are you learning?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We're tracking very closely, arguably, more importantly, the Department of Homeland Security tracking them very closely as well.

They have a 24-hour center. There were things like a Twitter outage yesterday. That was a lot of concern that this might be evidence of an attack. We have been in touch with Twitter. That was actually a technical thing.

More importantly, you had groups like Guccifer, which is a hacking organization online which is very powerful. It claimed over the weekend to have penetrated the FEC, Federal Election Commission. The trouble with that, one, I have spoke to the FEC today. They see no evidence of successful hacking.

Two, the FEC is not involved in counting votes. Guccifer made this claim we're inside, there's evidence Democrats are rigging the vote, interesting kind of parallel to some of Donald Trump's talking points. But they're not actively involved in counting votes.

The thing is here, though, that this is an information war. That's the way it's described to me by cyber-experts and by intelligence officials. So it's not so much necessarily about changing the outcome of the election. It's about sowing doubt, creating questions out there.

And, arguably -- and, again, the intelligence community has blamed Russia for this information war. Arguably, they have already won that war, right, because you have had a months-long attack on Democratic Party officials, revelation of Democratic Party e-mails virtually on a daily basis released through WikiLeaks.

You have had huge trolling operations that are pushing out fake news, questions about the voting system, raising doubts whether the system is rigged, whether it can survive this.

With those doubts out there, and, frankly, all of us are experiencing it. You're reading about it on the Web a lot, particularly from the Republican Party. Arguably, that information war has already been won.

To this point, no evidence of major attacks in the last 24, sort of 48 hours. But we're going to be watching tomorrow, because there are a lot of ways that that information war can continue into Election Day.

BLITZER: Pamela Brown, you're our justice correspondent. I know you know the Justice Department is sending monitors to 28 states to make sure the election process goes as it's supposed to go. And it almost does go as it's supposed to go.

Tell us more about the role that these observers are going to play.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: There will be more than 500 DOJ monitors, as you said, in 28 states.

Essentially, what they're going to be doing is looking for voting rights complaints, voter rights, voter suppression efforts, that kind of thing. As Jim sort of touched on, there is concern that perhaps there could be these trolling operations to disseminate fake news, such as tampering with the machines and that kind of thing.

So that's another part of this whole equation. But as Jeffrey can also talk to, there is a Shelby case in 2013 which changes the role for the Department of Justice. They can go longer go into these polling stations, so they will be doing the work outside of the station.

TOOBIN: This is really important.

In 2013, as Pam said, the Supreme Court effectively ended the Voting Rights Act, the most important civil rights law ever passed. And this is the first national election in light of that.

In North Carolina today, you have the North Carolina Republican Party bragging about how minority turnout is down after polling places, the number of polling places in minority neighborhoods have been reduced.

I mean, this is something that I think everyone is going to want to look at and see what the impact is over the course of tomorrow and through the election.

BLITZER: All right, Donald Trump, we're told now, has taken the stage in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Let's listen in.

[18:20:04]

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

TRUMP: ... one day, we are going to win the great state of Pennsylvania, and we are going to take back the White House.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: This election will decide ruled by a corrupt political class or whether we are ruled by yourselves, the people.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: It is time to reject a failed political elite that has bled this country dry.

To all the people of Pennsylvania, I say we are going to put the miners and the factory workers and the steelworkers back to work. We're bringing our companies back.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The trade policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton have destroyed manufacturing in your state and throughout the country.

I want to take this moment to share a message with all of the Democratic voters in our country who are thirsting for change, like everybody else. Everybody is thirsting, thirsting for change.

You're tired of a government that works only for Wall Street and the special interests. You're tired of the reckless foreign policy, the crazy wars that are never won. Hillary Clinton is the last stand for the Wall Street and special interest donors and to special interest themselves.

And Hillary is the face of failure. She's the face of failure. She's the face of failed foreign policy. Real change begins -- she is indeed the face of failure. Look at what she's done with e-mails. Look at the mess. Look at the mess, and look at the corruption.

Real change begins immediately with the repealing and replacing of the disaster known as Obamacare.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: This is a great room. We had great victories in this room, by the way, great victories in this room.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And I went to school in Pennsylvania. And my kids went to school in Pennsylvania. So, I guess we assume it's a good place to learn.

Look, have you been seeing the polls, by the way?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Oh, boy. Oh, boy. See the dishonest people back there, the media. They're totally dishonest.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: They are so dishonest. They are so dishonest, folks. You can't even read articles in certain papers anymore.

"The New York Times" is a total lie. You can't -- you can't -- it is so false, nothing to do with me. I'm just telling you, such lies, such lies, such fabrication, such made-up stories.

Now, "The Times" is going out of business pretty soon. That's the good news, but such made-up stories, such vicious made-up stories.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: But I'll tell you, they're going a little crazy, because we're leading in Ohio. We're leading in Iowa. We're leading in New Hampshire, where I'm going to be in a little while.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We're doing fantastically well in North Carolina. I think we're leading. We, I believe, are leading in Florida.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And now Hillary has just announced she's going to additional stops. She's going to Michigan, traditionally, not really a Republican state.

But, you know, I have been talking -- I was man of the year in Michigan a number of years ago. And I started telling and talking about your car business is being stolen from you. I have been saying it for years and years and years.

[18:25:02]

And you know what? Michigan now agrees. We're leading in Michigan. We're leading.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And when I heard that crooked Hillary is going there tonight, she had to. Nobody thought in terms of Michigan.

When I heard, I figured, you know what? I have nothing to do tonight, so I will go there tonight and give it the last word, OK?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: So, after this, I'm going to New Hampshire. And then I'm going to Michigan.

Oh, we're going to have a great victory tomorrow, folks. We're going to have a great victory.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: They have no idea. The dishonest media has no idea. Actually, they do have an idea. They're saying, what is going on?

And look at these people and look at this enthusiasm. There's nothing like it. By the way, I just -- I have to say, this is considered -- in the history of this country, this is actually -- and you have been hearing it -- this is considered the greatest movement. Nobody has ever seen anything like this, folks. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And I was thinking today, it's a movement -- if you really think about it, it's a movement of common sense. It's a movement of competence.

It's not a movement where we give $150 billion to Iran, where we give them $400 million in cash, but that turns out to be $1.7 billion in cash to Iran.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: For hostages, for hostages, which our president lied about.

And just one other thing. Why is he campaigning all the time? He ought to be working on jobs, on getting rid of ISIS, on our borders, on our health care, which is failing so badly. Boy, oh, boy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And she can't get anybody to go to her rallies, so she gets Jay-Z.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: He uses the worst language I have ever heard.

And by the time he's finished, what's happened? What happens? He and Beyonce, right, they're finished. By that time, most of the people have left. So she thinks she's getting people. By the time she speaks, they're all gone anyway. She should just take a small room and talk. Talk. Just take a small room and talk.

It's just been announced that the residents of Pennsylvania are going to experience a massive double-digit premium hike, so high that I won't tell you what it is. It's very high. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania, most of which I won in the primaries, right?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Almost all -- almost every one of them -- are losing Obamacare insurers next year.

But the truth is, it's not going to matter, because we're going to repeal it and replace it. Not going to matter. Don't worry about it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So you can leave here happy.

Premiums are surging, companies are leaving, insurers are fleeing, doctors are quitting, and deductibles are going through the roof. Yet crooked Hillary Clinton wants to double down on Obamacare, making it even more expensive than it is right now.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: I'm asking for your vote so we can repeal and replace Obamacare and save health care for every family in Pennsylvania...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ... and, by the way, for every family in this country.

Real change also means restoring honesty to our government. Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency of the United States. She's threatened national security. She sold her office to the highest bidder.

And, then, to cover her tracks, she deleted 33,000 e-mails after receiving a congressional subpoena.

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

TRUMP: She should not be allowed to run for president. She's being protected by a rigged system.

BLITZER: We have a lot more shots of that. But right now, let's get a key race alert.

[18:30:07] All right. In Indiana right now, more votes are coming in. Donald Trump maintains a significant lead. He's got a lead of almost 13,000 over Hillary Clinton's 70 percent to 26 percent. Once again, there are only 1 percent of the vote is in. Eleven electoral votes in Indiana. His vice-presidential running mate is the governor there.

Kentucky, Donald Trump maintains a significant lead there, as well, 8,500-vote lead over Hillary Clinton. Still early, 1 percent of the vote is in, 68 percent to 28 percent. Eight electoral votes -- 8 electoral votes at stake in Kentucky.

Let's go back to Jake and Dana. What are you looking for, because polls are about to close in several

major -- in 30 minutes in some important states.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: What an exciting night. I guess there are a few things. Obviously, first, the ten states, that battleground states that we're all looking at. I could go through them right now, but we'll spend the night doing that. But especially North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, et cetera.

But in addition, I'm really interested in, first of all, there's been a lot of anecdotal reporting about early vote and Latino votes surging in places like Nevada, in places like Florida, in Virginia, states that really, really are crucial for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Is that real? Are those Latino votes surging? And also are African-American votes going down, as a lot of Democrats feared after 2012 and 2008 with the first African-American president?

Second of all, the gender gap. Is there going to be a gender gap? We've seen it in the polls. Women voters, even white college-educated women voters who normally break Republican going for Hillary Clinton in the polls. Are they going to turn out? Is there going to be a sizeable gender gap with men favoring Donald Trump, women favoring Hillary Clinton?

BLITZER: At the top of the hour, Dana, Georgia and Virginia. Two -- who would have thought of Georgia, all of a sudden, as a battleground state? But apparently, the polls show it's pretty close.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Republicans have been saying privately that they thought that that was going to be a tight one for some time. The Clinton campaign didn't go in and take -- take advantage of it. So it didn't really become that much of a race.

But I just want to talk about one thing that you touched on, which is the Latino vote. My question is, looking ahead to the end of the night, whether or not this will be kind of a book end with regard to Latinos, in that ever since Donald Trump came down that escalator and made the remarks that he did about Latinos, that has been an issue for that demographic. And now, like you said, the question is whether or not there is a Latino surge.

And if that happens, if it turns out that perhaps Donald Trump sort of awoke a sleeping giant, that would be -- come full circle tonight. The end of the night, the end of the campaign versus the beginning.

TAPPER: Democrats have been trying for years to get Latinos to vote...

BASH: Exactly.

TAPPER: ... in as high numbers as they can get, and it hasn't worked. One of the reasons why Arizona has been a contentious state is because, in the words of Democrats in Arizona, Donald Trump has been a one-man get-out-the-vote operation to rally Latinos to the polls. I don't know that Arizona, at the end of the day, is going to end up being that competitive. But the Latino vote, as you say, awaking -- awaking a sleeping giant.

If they turn out in numbers in Florida, in Virginia, in Colorado, and Nevada, boy, that could really...

BASH: And even North Carolina.

TAPPER: And North Carolina, that could really be something. We remember, and the panel has been discussing this. In 2012 after Mitt Romney lost, the Republican National Committee doing this autopsy, looking at the fact that they need to win over Latino voters. They didn't take the lesson, and we'll see what happens tonight.

BLITZER: Let's get to the panel and Anderson right now.

COOPER: Yes, Wolf, thanks very much.

Bakari, you've been watching North Carolina very closely tonight, Bakari.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think North Carolina is going to be one of the closest races we have. And I'm very interested in this court case. I think you have two dynamics. You have a relatively frivolous lawsuit that was filed in Nevada by the -- by the Trump campaign, because individuals were staying in line and voting, as they should be allowed to, in Clark County.

But here you have a GOP party in North Carolina, you have a governor in Pat McCrory who the court said they discriminated with such precision in the way that they cut back on the number of early voting locations, especially here in Durham. And what happened today, you have two Republicans and one Democrat on the Durham County Board of Elections who agree that these polls should be open a little bit longer. It's an historically black college and university there in North Carolina central, where the lines are apparently just out of the roof.

And so you see these things happening in pockets. But North Carolina has become synonymous with voter suppression.

COOPER: There's a court hearing taking place right now as we speak.

SELLERS: It's going on right now.

COOPER: To allow some of the polls to remain open.

SELLERS: To allow this county to stay open for another hour and a half, which is -- which is important.

Because Corey and I, we sit on this panel; and we talk a lot. And we don't agree on everything politically, but we do agree on the fact that everybody should come out and vote, and everybody should have an opportunity to play in the process.

And so if you're in line, stay in line. But what the North Carolina Republican Party did, under the cowardice leadership of Pat McCrory is a disgrace. [18:35:05] ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And it's a big --

that's the home county to Deborah Ross, who's running for U.S. Senate. That's a very big Democrat stronghold. So if I were them, I'd be fighting for it, too.

I want to see the Republicans do well.

COOPER: We'll find out the results and whether or not they're going to be able to keep that open.

GERGEN: It's my home state, and I grew up there. And I can just tell you it's been an agony, seeing what's been happening in our politics over the last few years. It's gotten very rough, very nasty.

And this is a big showdown night in North Carolina, because of course, McCrory is up in a very tight election for governor, to be reelected the governor. And there's also a Senate race that could actually change the leadership of the Senate to Democratic if Burr loses, a Republican governor, so there is a Republican senator.

So this is -- what you're talking about is really pretty central to the way this whole election, a sense of democracy working.

COOPER: We also saw President Obama making numerous trips to North Carolina to try to...

GERGEN: Absolutely. As did Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: Yes.

BORGER: Well, he was trying -- he's trying to get out the African- American vote. Because there was a sense that it wasn't turning out, as Bakari knows, and the numbers that they needed it to turn out.

And I think, you know, what we're going to be watching tonight is whether there is a real demographic shift in this country. The last election, 72 percent of the people who voted across the country were white. We're going to have to see if that number decreases this time.

And so, you know, demographics is destiny, as we always say. So the question is in North Carolina and in other places, will minority vote make a difference for the Democrats?

We're also going to be looking at the shifting in the country versus in college versus non-college-educated voters. I mean, this is something that really interests me, because for the last 60 years, Republicans have won the college-educated vote in this country. Is that going to change? The white college-educated vote. Is that going to change?

COOPER: And some of the demographic information...

GERGEN: ... seems to be the party working for...

COOPER: We've seen some of the demographic information, in the racial information in some of the early exit polls. But those are very early. So we're going to be giving more of those throughout the night.

We're just minutes away from getting the first results from two major battlegrounds. Polls are about to close in Georgia and Virginia. This election night just getting started. We'll be back after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:41:15] BLITZER: Welcome back. Right now, we have another key race alert.

In Indiana right now, 2 percent of the vote is in. You see Donald Trump still maintains his significant lead, 22,500-plus over Hillary Clinton. Eleven electoral votes at stake in Indiana. Early, but Trump has a significant lead in Indiana.

Similarly in Kentucky, 2 percent of the vote is in. He's at 68 percent. She's only at 28 percent. More than 16 -- 16,000 vote lead for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. We're watching the presidential race very, very closely.

We're also watching the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Dana is taking a closer look at that.

BASH: That's right, Wolf. Let's take a look at the battle for control of the Senate.

First, Democrats have 46 seats. Republicans have 54. That's the old balance of power. Tonight 34 seats are at stake, and we're watching nine key races. Republicans are defending eight of those races. Democrats are defending one.

Now, if Democrats can pick up five Republican seats and hold the rest, they will have a 51-seat majority. Republicans, they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars, dispatched marquis players to all over these -- these races to deprive Democrats of five pickups and that 51-seat majority.

Well, here is another scenario: a 50/50 Senate. If Hillary Clinton is elected, Democrats would have the majority, because Vice President Tim Kaine would cast the tie-breaking vote.

If Donald Trump is elected, Republicans would have the majority, because Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote.

Now, let's get to the first votes coming up in this key race alert.

The first votes are coming in from one of the states, Senate races that could determine who gets the balance of power. And that is Indiana. Look at that. Todd Young, the Republican, who's hoping to keep this seat in Republican hands is up with a significant margin there, up a little bit more than 13,000 votes, but only 2 percent of the vote is in. So we're going to keep watching that very, very closely, because it's such a big one.

Let's look at some votes coming in from Kentucky. Rand Paul, who started out this campaign running for president dropped out. Now he's trying to keep his Senate seat. He's -- in this race for re-election, he is little more than 10,000 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Jim Gray. We're going to keep watching that, as well, because again that's only 2 percent.

Now let's look, Jake, at the current balance of power, where we start this evening. If you see up on the big board, Democrats right now at 36. Republicans have 30. And we are looking at 34 seats that we're going to be monitoring and projecting as we get the results in throughout the night.

TAPPER: But really, it's nine seats that we're really focusing on...

BASH: It's 9.

TAPPER: ... because the other don't really have competitive races.

BASH: Exactly.

TAPPER: One of the things that's so interesting is about three or four weeks ago, Democrats wished the election had taken place...

BASH: Yes, they did.

TAPPER: ... in early October when Hillary Clinton was really surging following the release of that "Access Hollywood" tape. And Democrats were talking about recapturing the Senate by big numbers.

Then, of course, FBI Director Comey released that letter, and the race started tightening. And now they're hoping for some pickups, but we'll see how many they get.

BLITZER: Yes, we'll see, indeed. The Democrats had an advantage. More Republican seats were up for grabs. We'll see what happens very soon.

All right, Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much.

You know, Ana Navarro, Wolf earlier was talking about the historic nature of this race. And it's very easy, I think, in all the vitriol that's been expressed in the waning days of this campaign, all the divisions, to lose sight of just how historic this is. I mean, no matter who wins, for different reasons.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I saw something today which frankly just touched me. And I said before, I never thought that the female factor was going to be something that was so significant to me. And it's definitely not the reason why I voted.

But I saw today the line of people lining up in the cemetery where Susan B. Anthony's tombstone is, and the women putting the "I voted" sticker on her tombstone. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, if you believe in a woman's right to vote, if you believe that we are all equal in this country, that should be something that touches us all, that makes a significant statement for us all.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But I saw today the line of people lining up in the cemetery where Susan B. Anthony's tombstone is and the women putting the "I voted" sticker on her tombstone.

[18:45:05] Whether you are Republican or Democrat, if you believe in a woman's right to vote, if you believe that we are all equal in this country, that should be something that touches us all, that makes a significant statement for us all.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And, obviously, Gloria, I mean, if Donald Trump wins it is an historic night in a whole other way.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It's an historic night because you would have an outsider new to politics, a celebrity.

COOPER: Someone who hasn't been involved in government.

BORGER: Not even in government. I mean, Eisenhower was the last one. But he was a general. So, you'd have somebody who created a movement out of nothing, who was not aligned with any ideological wing of his particular party, who spoke to voters about their concerns of being disenfranchised from their own party as well as from the opposition party, who felt removed from Washington. And said, you know, I've had enough. And I don't want to take it anymore and I am looking for something different -- somebody to shake up the establishment and the status quo.

So, either of these results would -- are -- would be historic for this country.

I mean, I want to add to what Ana was saying. It's the persistence of these women 96 years ago who got the right to vote for women in this country that those women were thanking today. Because when you think it hasn't -- you know, 96 years --

NAVARRO: In our generation, we sometimes take it for granted.

BORGER: Of course we do. Of course we do.

NAVARRO: We take for granted that less than 100 years ago, women could not vote. They were not equals in this country in that aspect.

And so, look, whether she wins or not tonight, the fact that Hillary Clinton is out there competing for the big title is, I think, very significant to a lot of people in America.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's also significant that we talk a lot about the Latino vote, but also the women's vote may be very historic in a lot of different ways. We don't have enough numbers right now to know for sure, but that she may be winning white college educated women, she may even possibly win married women, which would be the first Democrat since her husband barely won them 20 years ago.

So, the fact that she could be, you know, moving these women. Now, we don't know if this is a realignment, if these women are moving away from the Republican Party or anti-Trump.

COOPER: The changing demographics of the United States. I mean, not only how we're seeing it reflected this time around compared to even four years ago, eight years ago, but what it portends for the future as well.

NAVARRO: Well, we've got two things happening on the Latino front. First of all, the number -- the percentage of Latinos voting has been ticking up. It's gone from 8 percent to 10 percent. It's been ticking up.

But also, the percentage of Latinos voting for the Republican Party has been ticking down. We went from 44 percent for George W. Bush to 31 percent with John McCain, which we thought it was tragic and had to fix and we have to deal with immigration.

And then we went to 27 percent with Mitt Romney. At that point, you know, our hair was set on fire on the Republican side. We needed to address this. We had a post mortem.

Well, now, we're worst than post-mortem. We're dead even before the beginning. I can assure you that Donald Trump is going to get historic low numbers amongst Latinos. He's going to be probably going in the teens. If he breaks 20, it's a good night for him with Latinos.

And it would be sweet, sweet justice if, after everything he has said, after every attack he has made against Latinos, after he has thrown out Latino anchors from press events, after he hasn't done any outreach, after he has questioned and judged o citizenship, after he has called Mexican rapists, it would be sweet, sweet justice if it was a Latino vote that defeated Donald Trump.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

COOPER: Ana Navarro, you are not a Trump supporter.

NAVARRO: No. What I am -- I'll tell you what I am -- I am a college educated Latina and sure as hell not a Trump supporter.

COOPER: David Gergen --

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm not sure I can follow that. We should go to break.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: Well, we know you're not a college-educated Latina.

BORGER: College educated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're a Trump supporter.

COOPER: But we're already seeing this, obviously, in the early voting in Florida, which is the percentage of Latino voters, and the Latino voters who are embracing the Democratic Party, which in Florida has not been the history and --

GERGEN: Absolutely. And, look, I think Donald Trump can still win this tonight. In the court, it's going to make a huge difference in there, and we're going to go different directions. But if Hillary wins tonight, what you're going to see are the makings of a coalition, a national coalition that's going to dominate our politics for the foreseeable future. It is as strong a coalition as what Franklin Roosevelt put together back in the 1930s.

COOPER: When you talk about a coalition, what do you mean?

GERGEN: I'm talking about a coalition of -- a party coalition of people, you know, forces within. If you can get the Latino vote on your side, if you can get the black vote on your side -- if you get the minorities, if you get women, if you get the young, that puts together a coalition of people that has won a majority now.

[18:50:09] If they win tonight, they will have won a majority of the vote in six out of seven presidential elections. We haven't seen that verify often.

COOPER: We're standing by for the first big wave of results in the presidential race.

Let's go back to Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Anderson.

More early votes already are coming in. We have a key race alert.

(MUSIC)

BLITZER: Here are the latest results coming in from Indiana. Three percent of the vote is now in. Donald Trump has a nearly 40 percent lead over Hillary Clinton, almost 70 percent to 26 percent. Donald Trump has a significant early lead in Indiana where there are 11 electoral votes at stake.

In Kentucky right now, Trump also has a significant lead, just went up a little bit, 23,100 plus over Hillary Clinton, once again, only three percent of the vote is in. He's got 66 percent. She has 29 percent. Eight electoral votes in Kentucky. Early voting in both of those states.

We're about to get our first chance to make projections in this historic presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We're counting down to the top of the hour, 7:00 p.m., here on the East Coast. That's when polls close in battleground states of Georgia and Virginia, two of the key races we're watching.

The last polls are also closing in Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vermont. A total of 60 electoral votes are up for grabs in nose states. And remember, it takes 270 electoral votes to win this presidential election.

Jake, Georgia and Virginia, they will be the first test, the big test of the night.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Wolf, and we'll see whether Donald Trump can hold on to the traditionally red state of Georgia. And if Hillary Clinton can keep her Virginia firewall intact.

We're keeping tabs on voting all across the country. In these key battleground states, we'll be following throughout the night.

Right now, let's check in with our correspondents who are at the presidential candidates headquarters in New York City. Jeff Zeleny covering Hillary Clinton. Sara Murray covering Donald Trump.

First to you, Jeff. What are you hearing from the Clinton campaign?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, in the Clinton war room right now, they are keeping an eye on Virginia. They believe those 13 electoral votes could be the first battleground state they win in terms of times of the polls closing. They're looking at the suburbs right outside of Washington, D.C. They believe that the turnout there was strong throughout the day, particularly in Fairfax County, in Arlington County, a county where President Obama won by some 20 points in 2012. They believe that turnout was exceedingly good.

Now, of course, Virginia, home to Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential candidate here. Jake, he has been on a ballot for a couple of decades, has never lost a race he's been on. He was back in Virginia yesterday to campaign across the state, in northern Virginia, in Richmond.

So, the Clinton campaign confident of that. They are less confident, of course, of Georgia. It is one of the states that if she had been expanding the map at the end of this campaign instead of explaining her FBI controversy and development, something they were thinking about going into. They believe those 16 electoral votes are out of reach. They barely advertised there. They did not travel there at all.

One senior Democratic advisor said maybe next time, Georgia will come into play but not this time -- Jake.

TAPPER: Georgia, a state that I believe Barack Obama lost by only five points. It's been a state the Republicans have been thought to be trending Democratic. We're keeping an eye on it.

Sara Murray is with Trump campaign headquarters, just a few blocks away from Jeff.

And, Sara, what are the Trump campaign officials telling you?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the Trump campaign knows that northern Virginia, the D.C. suburbs are not turning out today to make America great again. Look, Virginia is not a central part of the Electoral College strategy. They have been encouraged to see a tightening in the polls there and they know that really only hope is to run up the score in areas outside of those D.C. suburbs if they want to have a shot at flipping Virginia to Donald Trump's column.

Now, one Trump aide tells me, look, this could turn out to be a Cinderella night for us. But others are not so optimistic about a win in Virginia this evening, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

Let's go now our political director David Chalian who has the latest from the exit polls.

And, David, with the polls in Georgia and Virginia about to close, you are taking a look in the exit polls as to who exactly showed up to vote in those key states.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, Jake. And we're going to be talking about these two demographics all night long: the racial make up of the electorate, as well as how the electorate is made in terms of education level.

So, first to Virginia, looking at race: 68 percent white. That's a touch down, a little less white, a little more Latino from four years ago, 5 percent four years ago, ticked up a point here. This is becoming a slightly more diverse state.

Look at education level too. We see a slight tick up there, 57 percent of voters in Virginia today are college graduates. Four years ago, that was 54 percent. That's an increase by three points there. That is a significant development.

[18:55:01] Take a look at Georgia. We see something similar here, 61 percent of the electorate in Georgia is white. Eight years ago, or last time we had exit polls in Georgia, that was 65 percent. Again, Georgia becoming a little less white, little more diverse, an uptick in Latino again. The African American vote holding the same there.

College education in Georgia, this is the big number that we're seeing in Georgia tonight, Jake. Eight years ago, it was only about 43 percent college graduate. Here, it's 50 percent. That is an uptick of 7 percent. That's a huge increase in college graduates in Georgia.

These electorates are changing and as they do so, this is probably welcome news to Democrats looking to the future -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. David, thank you so much.

Voters in Georgia and Virginia, a little less white as they went to the polls, at least according to these exit polls and a little bit more educated.

BLITZER: Democrats would thrilled, Dana, if they won Georgia although they are not necessarily expecting that. They are expecting Virginia.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are expecting Virginia. They say they were heading that way even before Hillary Clinton put the sitting senator, former governor, Tim Kaine of Virginia, on the ticket. But Georgia is really fascinating because, you know, looking ahead the

question is given the changing demographics there. Whether or not, maybe it was a little out of reach for Democrats this time around but if it continues to trend that way demographically, more educated, perhaps even more diverse, it might be within the Democrats reach the next time around.

TAPPER: And there might be states trending in the other direction.

BASH: That's true.

TAPPER: The states Hillary Clinton has been struggling that Barack Obama won twice before, Iowa and Ohio. We'll be talking a look at them. If there is a realignment this evening, we'll see if it's long lasting, Wolf.

BLITZER: That's why it's a fascinating night.

Let's go over to John King at the magic wall.

So, Georgia, taking a very, very close look at Georgia right now and Virginia.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Georgia and Virginia, Wolf, I want to show you something. You see the darker counties I have filled in here, it's a new trick we're trying tonight in the wall. And since all election long, we've been talking about, will Hillary Clinton win traditional constituency, white, college educated voters?

These highlighted counties, these are counties that in 2012, the highest percentage demographic group to vote in these counties were college-educated. So, this is one of the things we're going to watch from the results come in.

Let's go back in time and just look at. You see then, President Obama won them in up here in the D.C. suburbs. Mitt Romney won them in the rural areas.

So, we're going to look at these countries tonight. This was a key constituency nationally. Mitt Romney won this constituency by about 6 points. We know it's going to be a key battleground within a battleground. Absolutely critical to Hillary Clinton's chances in places like Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia suburbs. So that is one of the things we're going to watch.

Let's turn this off now and come back and just look at the map as we go 2016. We'll come up here, turn the key off, and we're going to wait. In Virginia, what are we going to look for? Let's turn this, doesn't want to go back and look at, oops, 2012 and come back in here and bring it in.

This is the county we look at here. I want to turn this key off. There we go. So what are we going to look for here? Number one, the key for Donald

Trump tonight -- and his will be a good clue -- we expect if you believe the late polls, the Democrats are favored in Virginia. If it's a very close race that tells us a lot. Number one, is Trump actually in play to win Virginia, that would be a big deal. Number two, even if he's not, how competitive is it?

What we learn from Virginia in the 7:00 hour is going to help us really understand the night ahead, especially when it moves to the North Carolina and we move down. And again, talk about this a little bit earlier, out here, Donald Trump needs to run it up -- small rural communities. Not a lot of population but he needs to run up the vote count out here in places likes this. Even if he loses Virginia to offset closing suburbs like this.

BLITZER: What about Georgia?

KING: Georgia is one of those states, you know, each party has its state. For the Republicans, it's been Pennsylvania. Every cycle, they say we're going the finally get Pennsylvania and they come up short. Georgia is one the Democrats think we're going to get because the strength has been in the Sun Belt states.

We're waiting for this to fill in next hour. Increasingly in diverse states, in the Sun Belt, Democrats are going better. They keep maybe Arizona. They're going to make a run this time. Most Democrats think they will come up short.

So, what are you going to look for in Georgia? Number one, you're going to look here. African-American turnout in the Atlanta area and some other areas, let's go back in history and look at it, you see, you have the blues here.

To have any chance, it has to be off the charts turnout in the Atlanta metropolitan area, African Americans, and then in the closing suburbs. Again, close elections and close swing states are generally one in the suburbs. That is where Secretary Clinton has had an advantage because of suburban women, college educated women.

We'll watch as this one plays out. Again, I think Georgia is something that Democrats have shown some polls showing them very close, so they've engaged the operation down there. But it's very hard for them to win that state.

We'll watch it. Again, sometimes, Virginia and Georgia in the 7:00 hour. It's not even so much as winning. If Georgia is very competitive, Wolf, it tells us something about Secretary Clinton's in play. We're about to get some first big clues.

BLITZER: We're about to get our first big clues indeed.

Georgia and Virginia, Georgia state, as we've within pointing out the Democrats have sought for a long time. They think they have a shot. Not at all that optimistic. Virginia, they really, really need Virginia right now. The Democratic vice presidential candidate, he is from Virginia. They think they have a very good shot. Let's get ready.