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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CNN Polling: 7 in 10 Voting to Send Message on Trump; Interview with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Interview with Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired November 5, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Do not believe us when we tell you that Election Day tomorrow will be like no other, believe the people who have been taking part in early voting, at least 31 million of them. Believe the people who have donated about $2.5 billion to Senate and House candidates so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Believe the ones who packed rallies and staffed phone banks, knocked on doors, and tweeted, and texted and worked as if their future depends on the outcome tomorrow.
Believe former President Obama who tweeted today and I'm quoting: Tomorrow's elections might be the most important in our life times, or believe President Trump, consider whatever you may think of him, he seems to know why voters are so invested on what happens. It is, he says, all about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A vote for Marsha is a really a vote for me. A vote for Morrisey is a vote for me. I want you to vote. Pretend I'm on the ballot.
They would be voting for me if I was on the ticket but I'm not on the ticket.
I'm not on the ticket but I am on the ticket.
A vote for David is a vote for me. And a vote for Steve is a vote for me.
Because this is also a referendum about me. In a certain way, I'm on the ballot.
In a sense, I am on the ticket.
And a vote for Cindy is a vote for me. And I try to tell my people that's the same thing as me in a sense. That's the same thing. Think of it as the same thing as me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can my audio not work, please?
COOPER: So, let me pretty clear, perhaps you're thinking that's just the president indulging in what he once called truthful hyperbole. It's not just him saying it, it's voters.
According to new CNN polling, 28 percent say they're voting to send a message of support for the president, 42 percent say they're voting in opposition to him. That's 70 percent, seven in 10 people for whom this election is their chance to weigh in on a man who's not on the ballot, a man whose job approval is lower than that of any modern president going into midterms. We'll talk about all that tonight.
We'll also talk about how intensely polarizing he has been for voters by his own choice. In the 30 campaign appearances he's made around the country since Labor Day, he's gone all in on the immigration issue, Democrats say fear-mongering, making up things, things that weren't true. And like we said, he did it by choice because he had options, seemingly good ones like the economy.
But we've got new reporting tonight on his reluctance for an ad his campaign put together on the booming economy. He hated it, said one Republican official. Instead he prefers the immigration ad that NBC stopped airing today because it was too insensitive they felt. Even Fox News stopped airing it for the same reason. Even Fox News would not air this president's closing argument ad because of what it said.
Now, we should mention that this network had already said no to the ad, tweeting over the weekend, and I quote: CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined.
We talk about that as well tonight. We have very full hour ahead. We have another live hour at 11:00 p.m. Eastern with the biggest midterm election perhaps ever now entering its final hours.
I want to begin tonight with CNN's Jim Acosta at the second of the president's three stops, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
What's the president focusing on tonight in this final push?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's a pretty apocalyptic message the president trying to tell these supporters at these rallies ending tonight in Missouri after this one in Indiana that the economy will crash and that undocumented immigrants will flood into the country if Democrats take control of the Congress.
But, Anderson, I mean, this is not a message that all Republicans are sold on. I talked to a couple of aides up on Capitol Hill earlier today, top Republican aides, one in the House who thought that this message on immigration could potentially tip the balance of power in the House to the Democrats because it could turn off those very important suburban swing district voters. And over in the Senate, according to an aide I talked to over there, the message that they're receiving from the president when they hear him talk about all of this is, in the words of this one aide, fear-mongering and just divisionary tactics.
So, Anderson, not everybody inside the Republican Party is sold on what the president is trying to do in these last hours before the midterm voting begins.
COOPER: Although, Jim, in 2016, there were plenty of people in the Republican Party who weren't sold on what Donald Trump was saying and doing and yet it certainly worked for him.
ACOSTA: It certainly did. And I will tell you that I did talk to a top Republican advisor to President Trump who said, listen, you know, this blue wave that you guys always talk about, it did materialize in 2016. Interestingly, that same advisor is saying, look, the turnout is pretty massive out there heading into tomorrow and that has them wondering whether or not perhaps it might not be a big wave but a wave may materialize for the Democrats this time around.
This one advisor put the odds of them hanging on to the House at less than 50 percent. In the ever confident world of Donald Trump, Anderson, you just don't hear talk like that. They always predict victory. But this advisor was not doing that.
COOPER: All right.
[20:05:00] Also I understand the president weighed in, Jim, today on his own tone. What did he say?
ACOSTA: That's right. Yes, he told a local affiliate in the Washington, D.C., area, that if he had one regret, it is that he has not softened his tone. Anderson, it's interesting, we haven't seen President Trump or even then candidate Trump soften his tone since he launched his campaign in 2015. I just think that's an interesting comment.
And then tonight at this rally in Indiana, he said, listen, I eventually want to unite the country, this from a president that's been in office nearly two years. One interesting thing, Anderson, that we should point out, there seems to be an indication coming from the Trump campaign that they're very worried about what women voters are going to do. I talked to one Trump advisor who said that they feel like there is a large gap when it comes to women voters.
And interestingly tonight, Anderson, we saw Ivanka Trump, we saw the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, and the White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, take the stage to talk to this crowd here. Anderson when, Sarah Sanders came out, I was looking around and looking for our friend April Ryan and some of our other colleagues in the White House press corps because it was so interesting to see Sarah Sanders at a rally like this.
They seem to acknowledge the fact that they may be getting very close to violating the Hatch Act because they said they were here on their own personal accord, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, Jim, thanks. The stakes certainly couldn't be higher tonight. We have just the right folks to match the occasion. David Chalian, Nia-Malika Henderson, David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, also Van Jones, Jennifer Granholm, Rick Santorum and David Urban.
We also have chief national correspondent John King at the wall. I do want to start with him.
John, let's just talk about late polls, what they show about voter preference, how much does the president factor into that?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The president factors in big, Anderson, and the late numbers show us the Democrats will have no excuses come Wednesday morning if they don't retake the House of Representatives.
Let's look at some of the numbers. This is the map. House is the big battleground. We favor the Democrats for 207 seats, solid, lean and likely. That means they're only 11 away if that map holds from seizing the majority.
Can they get there? Look at this new numbers, choice for Congress. Our new poll today is off the charts for the Democrats. It shows a 13-point advantage to the Democrats in the so-called generic ballot. If that number is true when the voters go to the polls tomorrow, Democrats will take the House. Democrats will get above 30 seats without a doubt, without a doubt.
Two other recent polls, NBC/"Wall Street Journal", "Washington Post"/ABC, they have the Democratic lead about half of what the CNN poll has. This is still enough for Democrats to get the 23 seats but this is more 20 to 28, 29, 30, this is a blowout, so we'll see what happens. Watch the exit polls when they come in tomorrow, how big is the actual gap tomorrow. But if these numbers hold up, Democrats will take the House.
And that kind of a number, Anderson, tells you we still might have some math to do when it comes to the Senate. Why is this happening? It's happening because of the president. In our new CNN poll, the president is now just at 41 percent among likely voters. If you average out a handful of recent polls, he's at 43 percent.
For this president, that's not bad. Historically, though, that is weak. Let's pull up the numbers and give you a peek at this, move this over there, so you can see the two and shrink this down. Imagine the president somewhere around 41 percent, 42 percent, give him 43 percent, Ronald Reagan in 1982.
If you look Bill Clinton's first midterm the Democrats got blown out. Barack Obama's first midterm, the Democrats got blown out. So, President Trump below Clinton '94, Obama 2010, that's why a lot of Republicans will tell you privately we're going to lose the House, the question is how much. The Republicans remain confident they can keep the Senate.
One more quick point I just want to make, as you did this, because you mentioned, is this about the president? You had these numbers at the top. I just want to reinforce them. Four in 10 Americans, more than four in 10 Americans say they are going to the polls to voice their opposition to the president.
Nearly three in ten Americans say they're going to the polls tomorrow to voice their support for the president. Add it up, 70 percent of Americans say tomorrow's vote, or maybe they have already early voted, is about the president. This is a referendum on him, his first two years, period.
COOPER: John, I want to come back to you in a minute but I want to talk to our folks here.
Gloria, what do you make of President Trump bringing out Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ivanka Trump, also saying that -- talking about tone which is something he talked a lot about during the campaign, saying that when he became president he would change his tone? His tone -- he has great tone. But maybe this was a one-off in some local affiliate interview, but it's interesting that he's talking about it's kind of my regret, that I haven't --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Gee, do you think it could be about women? I mean, I'm just sort of thinking here that he brings out all these women on stage, talks about his daughter, talks about his tone. Could it be about that women favor Democrats by about two to one now and he understands this is going to be a problem for him, particularly in the House?
And that, you know, he's usually not really reflective about these kind of things, so I thought it was actually quite surprising that he said that. But the fact that he is saying it leads me to believe that he really understands that women are just, you know, deserting the Republican Party in droves.
[20:10:01] COOPER: It doesn't mean he's going to change his tone.
BORGER: No, no. But I think he wanted it to sound like he was.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is like the end of a trial. The jury comes in to deliver their verdict, and then someone stands up and says, one more thing. And the fact of the matter is, this is not new information. He has had a problem with women throughout.
The notion that he's going to bring on Sarah Sanders and Kellyanne Conway the night before the election onstage and that's going to have some sort of marked effect on this is crazy. He's late to the game here.
DAVE URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So just to point out, like the day after the election -- the day after the inauguration, excuse me, on the Mall were millions of women, right? So the day after the election people had made their minds up already.
So this whole entire election campaign season, the president is not looking to court women, he's going pack to try to motivate his base. I think he's recognized that the House is gone largely.
BORGER: What do you think the softer was about?
URBAN: Excuse me?
BORGER: What is the softer about?
URBAN: I don't know. Maybe somebody talked to him right before he got onstage.
But I don't think, you know, you look at the immigration ad, maybe not the greatest ad to run because of this network and others thought it wasn't but it sure motivated the base. It motivated folks who were not coming out and now they're coming out. And that's the best hope.
If you see these seats in Pennsylvania, like Senator Santorum was talking about, the Scott Perry, a lot of these guys on the bubble in these pretty Republican plus two districts, if they hang on, it's directly because of the president.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: But does it have a cost in sending some independents in some key areas further away?
URBAN: Look, in the Philly suburbs, suburban western aren't coming out to vote for the president no matter how warm and fuzzy he was.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's exactly right.
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Let me just say that whatever good these horrific attack on immigrants does politically, it is not worth it socially. This president has been mindless, heartless and gutless.
Mindless saying he's going to change the Constitution with an executive order. That's a lie, it's wrong. Heartless, snatching babies from mothers at the border. And gutless, to demonize this ragged band of refugees as a threat to the country.
It is horrific in terms of impact on our country, our society. It might be smart politics but it's bad for America.
COOPER: I just want to go to John very quickly because you got some information on what we've been talking about, the demographic breakdown.
KING: I just want to show you the numbers because this is striking, especially if it holds up, and it's not just this. I mean, this, if our poll is correct and it's not only a big gender gap but a giant, this is a canyon. This is a demographic ditch for the Republican Party if this holds up tomorrow voting.
Number one, that takes away Barbara Comstock in Northern Virginia. It might take up Dave Brat in a more competitive race in Virginia. We could go through the map and I could find you six or eight races Republicans think right now they're probably going to eke out tomorrow, that if that is how women vote tomorrow, they're not.
But this is just as significant. It's not just the one piece, this is a blowout among women that Democrats are this competitive, among men is also a piece of the puzzle. You can't just take one group in most of these districts, you've got to look at everything. So, if millennials turn out, if women turn out, if minorities turn out, this number tells you Democrats have a chance, Anderson, for a blowout.
And David was just going through some of the races. If these numbers are anything like this, just watch this race tomorrow. Watch this race tomorrow. If Amy McGrath can beat Andy Barr in this district, the president carried it handily, the president was there in the campaign, there are six or eight districts we're going to look at. We think they're the canaries if you will that tell us about the country.
If the gender gap is that big, if the Democrats are splitting the male vote and if young people come out, then this district is going to go blue. If this district goes blue, then the president has lost the house, period.
GRANHOLM: I was just going to -- I don't know how much you can extrapolate from one poll, because this poll definitely resonates what we're feeling on the ground, but you just don't know, right? But here's what you do know is that 256 women are running for Congress. That is a record.
You're going to see so many women coming out. There's already a surge in the early vote for women. I just think that women are inspired by the fact that we are, A, sick and tired of this guy and we feel like we need to step up and take our country back. And that's what you are seeing. It makes me so proud of my sisters.
URBAN: I was going to say, polling clearly didn't capture the Trump voters in 2016, totally missed it, right? So we have to see how that's going to play out tomorrow night.
COOPER: Right, I do feel like that's some of the rhetoric we heard in 2016.
GRANHOLM: That's why I say I'm scarred. You see the scars are throbbing from 2016, so I had to put the caution out there. However, ever hopeful.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you look at these presidential approval numbers, look, I ran in a year the presidential approval in my state for George Bush was in the mid-30s. I mean, I had no chance, because you just can't beat -- why? Because George Bush was all about -- people didn't really see George Bush as that much -- he was just what his policies were.
[20:15:03] Barack Obama was different. People really liked Barack Obama. They didn't like a lot of his policies sometimes, but they really liked him. So, his approval numbers were always really good even though some of
his policies weren't very good. Trump, people don't like him, but they like a lot of his policies, so this approval number may not be as important as it was, just like Obama's number wasn't -- in an election where you have 46 percent approval, we -- this shouldn't have opinion a blowout in 2008.
AXELROD: Actually, his approval numbers are better than his favorable. When you ask people how they feel about him, it's even worse.
SANTORUM: But it's his policies that you got to --
AXELROD: You know, the fact of the matter is we just saw a montage at the beginning of this program where he said it's about me, it's about me, it's about me. He has begged people to make it about him and it is about him.
URBAN: The numbers of the economy.
SANTORUM: But people don't listen to that. People listen to what's going on in their life. They vote about what's going on with them and their families and their pocketbook and their job.
And if they see that things are actually better for me, wages are actually better, that I have employment opportunities. You know, I sat on the sidelines for a long time, but now I'm going back to work, those things can have a --
AXELROD: That's a hell of a closing argument. That's not the one the president is giving.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's not the story that he's telling. He basically said at a rally that this is sort of boring, that he wants to talk more about the caravan. He wants to talk more about immigration.
SANTORUM: I would have people one after another saying I sat on the sideline for three years. You know, the job was just too good and I came back making a big living. Talk -- bring Hispanics and African- Americans who have the lowest rates.
JONES: He literally rejected that very ad.
SANTORUM: I'll make it.
Listen to me.
URBAN: It doesn't move the numbers. It doesn't move the numbers. COOPER: OK. We're going to take a quick break and broaden the
conversation with two former presidential candidates in Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Ohio Governor John Kasich. We'll also talk about the ad President Trump liked so much and the message it sends.
[20:21:05] COOPER: We've been talking about President Trump's choice of fear as a way to win tomorrow, merely of migrants hundreds of miles from the U.S. border, also fear of what he says Democrats would do if they take control of Congress and the impact to the economy.
Here's what he said on a conference call with supporters earlier today.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is all fragile. Everything I told you about, it can be undone and changed by the Democrats if they get in. You see how they have behaved, you see what's happening with them. They have really become radicalized.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, let's talk about that with former Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont.
Senator Sanders, thanks for being with us.
Have you -- have Democrats become radicalized?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, I think what Democrats are increasingly trying to do is represent the middle class and working families and not the billionaire class or the 1 percent. When you have a president who attempted with the Republican leadership to throw 32 million Americans off the health care that they have, we stood up and we fought back.
And when you have a president who gave a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent and then, Anderson, came back with a budget that would cut Medicaid by a trillion, Medicare by $500 billion, the Social Security Disability Fund by $72 billion over a ten-year period, yes, we stood up and we fought back.
COOPER: But the president points to --
SANDERS: And if that is considered to be -- I'm sorry.
COOPER: Sorry. The president points to a booming economy, although he doesn't point to it very often, he's talking about other things. But his administration will point to a booming economy, to record low unemployment among large swaths of the population, among many different groups.
SANDERS: Well, that's true, and there's also very low unemployment in Germany, very low unemployment in Japan, Canada has the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years, as does the United Kingdom. The world, most of the major countries of the world are rebounding from the terrible depression or recession from 2008 when Wall Street crashed.
But here is the other reality, which Trump and his friends don't talk about, and that is the 30 million people in America do not have any health insurance and even more are underinsured. That we've got tens of millions of workers in this country trying to get by on $9, $10, $11 an hour and these guys, not only do they not want to raise the minimum wage, you have Larry Kudlow talking about how the minimum wage itself is a bad idea.
You have these guys not even recognizing the reality of climate change and working hand in glove with the fossil fuel industry to put more carbon into the atmosphere when we have to transform our energy system. So I think having said all of that, what this election is really about is whether we feel comfortable, Anderson, having a president who is a pathological liar, who lies every day about every imaginable thing.
And whether we as Americans are comfortable about having a president who is trying to divide us up, divide us up based on the color of our skin or the country that we came from or our sexual orientation or our religion. And Ultimately, I don't think the American people want us to move in that direction.
COOPER: If Democrats --
SANDERS: This is the most -- I'm sorry.
COOPER: If Democrats take the House, if Democrats take the House, do you want to see them go for impeachment? Because, you know, there are plenty of Democrats who say, look, that's not a wise move.
SANDERS: This is what I want Democrats to do, if I have anything to say about it, this is what I'm going to push. I want to raise that minimum wage today from a starvation minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to 15 bucks an hour so working people can live with dignity.
[20:25:01] I want to lower the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs.
I want us moving forward toward Medicare for all. And the first phrase of that concept is to lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 55.
And I want us to begin moving boldly to address the global crisis of climate change.
Those are some of the things that I want to see us do immediately.
COOPER: All right. Senator Sanders, I appreciate your time.
Ohio's Republican Governor, John Kasich, is hardly on the same page as a Vermont progressive. He too finds himself at odds with President Trump at times and Trumpism writ large. He joins us now.
Governor, thanks for being with us.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You're very welcome.
COOPER: The president is very clearly hoping that fear of this caravan in these final days will mobilize the base, drive voters to the polls. I know you're not a fan of that approach. Is it effective, however?
KASICH: Well, I think the fear is not going to overcome the fact that people are concerned about what they're hearing, Anderson, in a nutshell.
Look, I think where we are today is we have a polarization of the parties. You have people on the left and you have people on the right. And there's a big ocean of people in the middle. And frankly, many of them are numb.
You know, if a president had these numbers, economic gains that we've seen, and he was a uniter, his approval rating would be sky high. But when you engage in division, then you get people very uptight and that's why you've seen the party shrink. That's why you've seen concern with college educated women or all women frankly who are really wondering which party they ought to belong to.
And so I believe that over time, people are going to say, I've kind of had enough of this. And what I hope we're going to see are the people in the country begin to drive change from where they are to the top. In other words, do things in your community, create a synergy that energizes others and then send a message to the politician.
We saw it with the civil rights movement, where the changes came from the bottom up. We saw it with an ending of the Vietnam War where the protests came from the bottom up to get leaders to do things. I hope that's what we're going to demand, because we're worried about America -- not just what party wins, but America and how people can feel more confident of the future.
Anderson, the last thing is I saw a number the other day that said 70 percent of the people, 69 percent of the people in this country are worried about the future of this nation. OK? We don't have to live there. We can get together and we can solve problems, but we just have to stop demonizing one another. It can work.
COOPER: I mean, obviously, you're a Republican, you want your party to do well tomorrow. Would any part of you, though, be happy to see Democrats take back the House if for no other reason than to serve as a check on the president, who you at times, you know, in terms of tone and rhetoric disagree with?
KASICH: You know, Anderson, I think that as Americans we should be voting for the person. I mean, I don't support Republicans who are dividers. I'm more than willing to stand up and support very courageous Republicans who are uniters. You know, I've endorsed Mike DeWine in Ohio for governor. I mean -- but people who are going to try to divide us in either party
are people that in my opinion should get off the stage or in fact should not get support that they think that they can get. So to me it's about what we do to help America rather than, you know, checking in with the Republican club or the Democratic club. We are at a crucial stage in this country. We have lots of problems out there. They can be addressed, but they have to be addressed by both parties.
If the Democrats should win the House, the interesting question is can they work with Trump, President Trump, can they moderate his behavior? Can we begin to solve some of these very serious problems, things like the division between the rich and the poor, you know, the issue of our environment? What we're going to do to fix the immigration problem? How we can have a policy that just doesn't try to solve everything at the border but can reach into those countries and those communities where these troubles emanate which causes people to leave?
There's a lot that we can do together. In the meantime, you and I and all these people that watch start doing things where you live and drive the change from where you live to the top. It will work.
COOPER: Governor Kasich, we certainly see a lot of turnout. Maybe it's the beginning of that. Thanks very much for being with us.
Coming up, we told you about at the top of the hour the president wants the focus of this election in the final days on immigration, more specifically the caravan. The campaign ad he made for it has been rejected by three networks and Facebook. The president was asked about that today. We'll show you what he said.
[20:33:31] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: NBC, Facebook and even Fox News have decided to no longer run a Trump campaign ad that had been widely criticized, not only factually incorrect, but racist. CNN decided early on not to run the ad. The President was asked about it today. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several of the networks have declined to run the immigration ad that you posted last week saying that it was too racist. Do you have a response to that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know about it. I mean, you're telling me something I don't know about. We have a lot of ads and they certainly are effective based on the numbers that we're seeing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Mr. President, a lot of people said that ad was offensive. Why did you like that ad?
TRUMP: Well, a lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of times so, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Joining me now is CNN Chief Media Correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter. Brian, the idea that the President did not know about this ad given the amount of T.V. he watches and cable news that he watches, this ad has been widely discussed. It seems hard to imagine that he -- this is the first he's heard of it.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, even his presidential Twitter account shared the ad with millions of people. But its exposure on television was even more problematic because this ad was being broadcast on one of the most popular programs on television, Sunday night football on NBC.
That created a severe backlash this morning, Anderson, and NBC quickly came out and said, "Whoa, something went wrong here." Due to the insensitive nature of the ad it will not air anymore on NBC or on MSNBC where it was also airing. But by then, frankly, the damage had been done. This ad had already been broadcast in front of millions of people.
[20:35:01] And the same thing was true over Fox News. The ad had already aired on Fox and Fox Business more than a dozen times. Then the head of ad sales of Fox came out and said, "We're not going to show it anymore." That, of course, led to the question does that mean the ad was too racist even for Fox News? Apparently the answer is yes.
COOPER: Brian Stelter, thanks. Back now with our political team. What do you make of the fact that Fox News chose not to run this ad? I mean, surprising?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I just think we've been punched numb. We've been punched numb. The idea that the President of the United States likes an ad, loves it, tweets it out, and it is so racist and so offensive that Fox News, no great friend of civil rights, can't even run it, we act like that's just normal. Now we'll talk about, you know, Connecticut or something else. That is horrible. That is really, really bad.
And, you know, we got young people tuning in for the first times in their lives to try to watch the politics and understand what's going on and this is their first exposure to American politics that the President of the United States is such a raving bigot that he likes stuff that cannot be shown to them on television. There's something wrong with that.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: So just a quick observation before I delve in there. You know, NBC quickly denounces the ad but doesn't say a word about SNL taking on a combat wounded severely veteran, kind of turns my stomach a little bit there. So, you know, that's I think --
JONES: Do you hold the President to a higher standard than NBC, because I do.
URBAN: No. Van, I said first thing, let me talk about that first, right? JONES: Yes.
URBAN: So, you know, they should have come out and condemned --
JONES: Agree, agree.
URBAN: -- is equally as offensive. Look, I'm not a fan of this ad. It's a terrible thing to run. I've been talking about the economy. We should be sticking on that message.
And look, the caravan, let's go back to talking about the caravan, the caravan itself was a great messaging piece. What happened with the President is when he talked about birthright citizenship, it immediately made people think about, you know, go to a whole different place, right, in the ad. You go from the hordes at the gate shaking down the thing to kids being taken away from their parents and a whole -- it changed the discourse.
COOPER: Do you think birthright citizenship was a mistake?
URBAN: I think it was something that, you know, the -- you had these visuals are, you know --
URBAN: No, no, but I'm saying -- I'm talking about the campaign ad. This appears -- look, I'm not saying the Willie Horton ad was a great ad to run way back. Was it effective? Yes. Was it the right thing to do? No, right? I mean, there's two distinct pieces here.
JONES: Look, I -- first of all, I disagree with you on both ends of it. I don't think the President of the United States demonizing this, you know, band of refugees was great in the first place. It may have been good politics, but I think it was bad for the country.
But I also think that these things all tie together. And what's happening is the dominos are falling so that our overall humanity, compassion, what makes us great as Americans is going down, down, down, down, down. I don't think you can separate those two the way you are.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think -- I'm sorry.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: This is the closing ad of a campaign that the President says has been about him, all about him. And networks can't run it. I mean just think about that.
COOPER: That's bad.
BORGER: Networks cannot run it because they believe that it is too racist. And I think that's kind of stunning. I'm sort of with Van on this, which is have we gotten to the point where this is just ho-hum now? AXELROD: Can I just point out something that he said that I think is very important and illuminating and consistent with a pattern which is he said, well, you know, it may be tasteless or whatever the word he used, but it's effective. It's effective. And that is the explanation we get for all kinds of things that he said to Lesley Stahl when she asked him why he demonized Dr. Ford or ridiculed her. He said, "Well, we wouldn't have won without that."
Donald Trump has one test for all of this, which is does it work? Does it work? And he thinks that that works for him. I think he may find out tomorrow that he kind of jumped the shark here and he went too far, but that's what he thinks. It's not making moral judgments, it's all about winning.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: What's so interesting about the evolution of this ad is that it started as a web video that he tweeted out. It was 53 seconds long. It wasn't a paid television ad. It was not going to be put in everyone's living room and it got hammered in news coverage, it got hammered.
And the Trump campaign adjusted to that because they took out the inaccuracies in trying to make a 30-second version of it to try to pass the smell test and get onto the broadcast. They attempted to make an adjustment and it's still now being rejected. So they have taken two cracks at this ad and it's not passing the smell test.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My great hope on this is that tomorrow he will see the biggest smack down because of the number of people coming to the polls by virtue of the fact that they're angry at the divisiveness of that ad and others, that ad being sort of the piece resistant of exactly who he is. There's, you know, the never voted people and the infrequent voters, the numbers are through the roof. If you just -- I mean, I looked at like Tennessee, 929 percent increase in people who have never voted.
[20:40:00] Infrequent voters, 691 percent increase. Young voters, 663 percent increase. They are reacting to something. They are reacting to the divisiveness, the hatred, the bigotry, and I'm hopeful they send a very powerful message.
BORGER: It's interesting because Trump, according to our White House reporters, did not like the kind of soft and fuzzy morning in America ad that run because, A, it didn't have him in it, but B, he just thought it wasn't punchy enough and it wouldn't get people out to vote. Whereas this ad probably is something if you are -- if you are Donald Trump --
URBAN: Look, from a political science standpoint, right now, does it move the numbers?
URBAN: It moves the numbers, right?
COOPER: Right. And also -- I mean --
URBAN: Is it right to do? Different question.
AXELROD: But my question is, yes, there's no doubt that you had a slumbering Republican base. He started down this road. He was rewarded by rising numbers of Republicans who said they were going to vote, they were going to participate.
My question is after the tragedies we saw, he seemed to -- as I said yesterday, he went from a 10 to 11 thinking I've got to regain the momentum. And I think in doing that, he's going to drive away some of these independent voters.
COOPER: But how do people --
COOPER: Haven't a lot of people in the media been predicting that since the beginning? I mean, the first time he came down the escalator and made that speech, you know, and how many times the people said, "Oh, this is a tipping point beyond this."
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: So, I mean, that was the entire story of 2016, the entire story of his announcement in 2015 when he talked about Mexican sending murderers and rapists and the drugs. We thought that was going to be a tipping point. We thought that white women, for instance, would behave much differently than they ended up behaving in the 2016 election. And in some ways we're making those things predictions now that they're going to made different.
GRANHOLM: People need to vote.
COOPER: All right, much more ahead with our political team, plus the latest on the governor's race in Georgia. Stacey Abrams calls her opponent's investigation into Georgia's Democrats a witch hunt, the latest on that.
[20:46:01] COOPER: The race for governor in Georgia could end up making history if Stacey Abrams wins, she'll be the first African- American woman to ever become a governor in this country.
The final days of the campaign have been somewhat overshadowed by her opponent, Brian Kemp, who is Secretary of State, is overseeing the election in which he's also running.
Kemp has launched an investigation without presenting evidence into what his office describes as a Democratic attempt to hack the state's voter registration system. Abrams is calling it a witch hunt and abuse of power. Tonight, we're learning more about how all of this started.
Kaylee Hartung joins us with more on that. So how did the concerns about hacking come about? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, it was really confounding to a lot of people when we first received this announcement of the investigation of the Secretary of State's office wanted into the Georgia Democratic Party but without any evidence of a hack or even an attempted hack.
But we have since obtained a series of e-mails that the Secretary of State's office came into possession of that they tell us sparked this entire investigation. What they first received were correspondences between Democratic operatives with cyber security experts. In those e-mails they were discussing what they described as a massive vulnerability in this voter registration database.
Well, as the Democrats began to defend themselves and say that they were not guilty of any wrongdoing, that any claims that they were, were scurrilous and 100 percent false, they then provided us with additional e-mails, e-mails that preceded the communications that the Secretary of State's office had, which helped us better understand that the Democratic Party was actually just passing along information that they had received through their voter protection hotline from a concerned Georgia voter, a man unaffiliated with any party who had come upon what he believed to be flaws in this voter registration database.
COOPER: So that's how it began. Some -- according to the e-mails you have seen, a voter was raising concerns and then there was a conversation between someone in the Democratic Party in the state with cyber security people?
HARTUNG: Yes, that's right. And so the Democratic Party says they were trying to do the right thing. They were trying to vet this information that this Georgia voter gave to them to see if it was something that needed to be handed over to law enforcement.
They said they didn't have the technological expertise to understand what he was giving them, so they went to cyber security experts. Those experts then handed the information over to their lawyers to get to the Secretary of State's office because they recognized, again, what they believed to be a flaw in the system.
COOPER: So have you heard anything now from the Kemp campaign?
HARTUNG: Yes, it's been a challenge to really differentiate the difference between communications coming from Brian Kemp's office as the Secretary of State versus Brian Kemp, the candidate for governor. And today after only receiving statements from spokespeople within those different offices, we heard from Brian Kemp himself who says he is just doing his job here.
He says he's not worried about how this looks, the timing of all of this. As Democrats say, he is trying to distract people from what could be vulnerabilities in this voting system. He says his office is handling this investigation just as they would any other investigation.
And today the news breaking, Anderson, that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, they are opening up a criminal investigation into these alleged cyber attacks and with that taking it out of the hands of the Secretary of State's office.
COOPER: All right, Kaylee Hartung, appreciate it. We should say we asked Mr. Kemp or anyone from his campaign to come on the program, they declined.
Again, tonight, back now with the team. It's -- I mean, is there any way to predict how this actually plays out with voters?
CHALIAN: No, but --
HENDERSON: I might suggest that Kemp is very nervous, right? I have been stunned by how close this race is so far down the stretch. We're talking about Stacey Abrams, African-American woman, running as a real progressive against Brian Kemp who of course is the Secretary of State in a state that has typically been red. It has obviously a lot of African-American voters. There's about a third African-American, it's increasingly Latino too, about 10 percent
[20:50:06] But the fact that she has kept it so close all the way down the stretch and it hasn't really reverted to sort of red DNA, yet it's pretty telling, and I think Brian Kemp's actions suggests he might be seeing something in his polling that's making him a little nervous.
JONES: You know it's weird. If you're a straight white conservative male running for office in Georgia against a black female progressive and you got to cheat, there's something wrong, man. I mean, like you should be able to do this straight down the line and just win. The reality is he is either cheating or he's so concerned about possibly losing. He's willing to do stuff that will call into question the legitimacy of the victory.
ICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Wait, I don't think anything has to do with him cheating here. I mean, he's --
SANTORUM: Well, this report, I mean, you just -- the last comment the reporter made, whether you guys missed or not, that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is actually taking up and doing an investigation.
BORGER: And taking it out of his hands.
SANTORUM: Right. But why would they do an investigation if there's nothing to investigate?
BORGER: Well, I think maybe they wanted to take it out of his --
AXELROD: But they're not investigating necessarily the Democratic Party. They're investigating whether there was any sort of cyber problem. He spun it. The office spun it as an incursion by the Democratic Party of Georgia.
SANTORUM: (INAUDIBLE) this campaign did.
BORGER: Well, it's so confusing, come on.
SANTORUM: Well, I understand. My point is, number one, this was a stupid thing to do. Let me just say this upfront. But having said that, what Kemp is saying, look, we came across this, we thought it was irregular, we opened an investigation and now the --
COOPER: You say its stupid thing to do, why?
SANTORUM: What's that?
COOPER: You say its stupid thing to do.
SANTORUM: Because I just think the optics are really bad at this point.
GRANHOLM: And you agree he should have stepped down. You agree he should have stepped down.
SANTORUM: No, no, no. I think the optics are bad.
GRANHOLM: OK, so he should have stepped down.
SANTORUM: No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying he shouldn't have announced that he's doing this investigation two days before the election --
GRANHOLM: Do you think it's a good idea?
JONES: With no evidence.
SANTORUM: -- without providing evidence, I agree.
AXELROD: I'll tell you what concerns me is the President tweeted this morning about, you know, raising the specter of voter fraud. There are going to be a series of very close elections around this country. This promise is to be one of them.
And one of the concerns I have is about the aftermath of the election. And if the page, the next turning of the page is well, if Stacey Abrams win, that's not a legitimate win. If some of these other candidates win, it's not a legitimate win. You know, we've been down this voter fraud road before and it has been -- the evidence hasn't been very right.
URBAN: I think the Republicans would say, yes, the Mueller investigation, right? I think that's a great swath of the Republican Party with the 2016 election. No, I'm saying voter -- you know, it delegitimizes the President's election, that's what the Republicans will say exactly.
AXELROD: Nobody --
BORGER: But the President is setting this up.
AXELORD: I mean, nobody is saying that it delegitimized. The President felt like it delegitimized his election. I mean, if the Russians were involved in some nefarious way, we should know what they did, who was involved. I think everybody should agree on that.
BORGER: Can we say that the question of whether this is going to effect this election, I think it's so late. And I think people have -- it's kind of baked already. And people are sort of believed either he should have recused himself from being Secretary of State or he shouldn't have, and this is last minute and desperation.
SANTORUM: I just think it brings up (INAUDIBLE) to bring up right before.
URBAN: It makes him look desperate.
BORGER: It does, it makes him look desperate.
COOPER: And, David?
CHALIAN: -- has been central to this campaign from the beginning. This was -- so, yes, it's a late ad, but I think it's sort of compounding effective information on an issue that has been central in this campaign.
JONES: To David's point, though, this question of legitimacy cuts both directions. If he does win, then the concern about suppression means that he might not be legitimate to half of the voters.
And then on the other hand -- so we got -- people are playing around now with very dangerous sacred stuff, which is legitimacy of our institutions. Once people think because of either voter fraud or because of voter suppression that you can't trust the elections, then everything starts to go downhill.
COOPER: I want to thank everybody. The mayor of a small Utah City also served as a major in National Guard, he was killed over the weekend while in duty in Afghanistan. Just ahead, why his death has resonated far beyond his hometown? We'll tell you about his life.
[20:58:46] COOPER: An American hero died over the weekend and he left a message that we want to leave you with this hour. Mayor Brent Taylor of North Ogden, Utah was killed while serving in Afghanistan with his National Guard unit.
Mayor Taylor was also Major Taylor. He was killed after member of the Afghan Security Forces opened fire. Commando official say the attacker was immediately killed by other Afghan Forcer.
Now, Major Taylor became the mayor of North Ogden about 45 miles north of Salt Lake City back in 2013. He was often on Facebook in what apparently was his last post on October 28 he celebrated what he said were millions voting in the Afghan elections.
And then he wrote this about tomorrow's election back here at home, "Whether the Republicans or Democrats win, I hope that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us."
Major Taylor served through multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's survived by his wife, Jennie, and seven children, seven. You see them in the pictures there, a happy family, a proud father.
On his Facebook page, Utah's Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox wrote and I quote, "Utah weeps for them today. This war is once again cost us the best blood of a generation. We must a rally around his family."
We wish his family and friends' peace and strength and thank them for Mayor and Major Taylor service and the words he left us all on the eve of this important election.
The news continues right now. I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo. "Cuomo Prime Time" starts now. I'll be back live at 11:00 later tonight. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Anderson, thank you very much.