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Trump And Biden Battle In Key States In Final Stretch Of Campaign; Former President Barack Obama Campaigns For Biden In Detroit; Candidates Campaign In Pennsylvania And Michigan As Pandemic Rages Across The U.S. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 31, 2020 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. This is CNN's special coverage of the countdown to Election Day.

We begin with the election only three days from this hour, 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. Polls will close in the first two states, Kentucky and Indiana and soon after, we could begin to see results in this election.

Today, the candidates are focused again on the critical region of the Midwest, specifically, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Two states that both candidates President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden see as crucial to this election.

This hour, we will hear from former President Barack Obama and his former running mate, the current Democratic presidential candidate, of course, Joe Biden.

And of course, the last critical days of this campaign are unfolding against the national nightmare of the coronavirus pandemic.

Let's go to our reporters covering these campaigns for us. CNN's Arlette Saenz is in Michigan for us right now. That's where Joe Biden is making stops today with the former President Barack Obama. CNN's Ryan Nobles is with the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania.

Arlette, let's go to you first. You're in that state that President Trump narrowly won four years ago, but the team of Obama and Biden carried it twice: the two elections before that. So what is the former Vice President's pitch to voters right now as he tries to get Michigan such an important battleground state back?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you are seeing Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama out on the campaign trail today, reprising their campaign roadshow as they are making that pitch to Michiganders in the final days before this election.

The two of them held a drive-in event in Flint, Michigan earlier today. They also stopped at a canvas kickoff, and in just a short while, they are taking the stage here at another one of those drive- in, socially distanced events. And you heard the former President talking about his former VP in very

personal terms, personally attesting to seeing him operate in office during those two terms they served together in the White House and the former President also didn't hold anything back when it came to criticizing President Trump.

He was very forceful in his rebuke of the current occupant of the White House, including the way that he is approaching the coronavirus pandemic. That is a crisis that is still gripping the country, including in Midwestern states, like right here in Michigan, where COVID cases are on the rise.

And you heard the former President talk about those campaign rallies that President Trump is holding and his focus on having large crowds. Take a listen to what he said earlier today.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is going through a pandemic, that's not what you're supposed to be worried about. And that's the difference between Joe Biden and Trump right there.

Trump cares about feeding his ego; Joe cares about keeping you and your family safe. And he is less interested in feeding his ego with having big crowds than he is making sure he is not going around making more and more people sick.

That's what you should expect from a President.


SAENZ: And you also heard former President Obama and Joe Biden talking about healthcare, talking about protecting preexisting conditions as is done under Obamacare, laying the stakes out for healthcare in this election.

And with three days to go, they are here in the battleground state of Michigan, a state that Democrats narrowly lost to President Trump back in 2016. And the message from Obama and Biden is simple. It's get out there and vote. They want to make sure that they don't repeat any of the mistakes of last time with not as many voters turned out in the 2016 election compared to those 2008 and 2012 races when Obama and Biden ran before.

But Michigan is one of those states that is critically important to Biden's goal of reestablishing the blue wall -- Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- those three states that fell to President Trump back in 2016 and you're seeing the Biden campaign really hone in on those states in these final days heading into the election -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, we will stand by to hear from both Biden and Obama. Arlette, standby as well. I want to quickly listen in. The First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump is speaking in Pennsylvania at a campaign rally for her husband. I want to hear what she is saying. MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: ... so we can move

forward. The United States is a shining city on a hill, a place where the possibilities are endless and where families can grow and flourish. A place where everyone is united in an unending love of country.



M. TRUMP: Under this -- under this President, our American values and ideals are protected, cherished and upheld.

In early 2020, our nation began feeling the effects of a global pandemic. An invisible enemy invaded our beautiful nation and we found ourselves with a new virus that no one really understood.

With the President's leadership, we quickly learned what it was, how it spreads, and ways to mitigate it.

I watched Donald work very hard to keep people informed and calm, to protect our economy and make difficult and unpopular decisions in order to keep us all safe. In a time when our nation needed to come together, the Democrats and the media chose to attack and create chaos and confusion.

BLITZER: All right, on that note, let's break away from the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump speaking at a campaign event, a campaign event for her husband in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania.

We will continue to monitor what she is saying. We will of course, update our viewers at any news that emerges.

Meanwhile, let's go to CNN's Ryan Nobles. He is covering the President for us. Ryan, the President holding four campaign rallies in Pennsylvania today, a must-win state for the President if he hopes to hold on to the White House.

So what's his bottom line message and you've been listening very closely to what he has been saying now, just three days away from the election.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting, listening to the First Lady speak there for a minute and you heard her talk about the coronavirus pandemic, its effect on the country and the President's administration's response to it, it is actually far more than you hear President Trump himself talk about the coronavirus on the campaign trail, at least in that specific terms.

He talked about it a bit more broadly, kind of complains about the way that he has been covered in terms of his response, and then even mocked people who wear masks and suggests that we are rounding the corner when it comes to the coronavirus, which isn't at all true.

But getting back to your point about Pennsylvania, Wolf. You know, the fact that the First Lady is here today, the fact that the President has four events here, the fact that they are spending money on ad time here, they have all kinds of volunteers and paid staff on the ground here. This is a crucial state for the President in his re-election hopes.

This was a state that they did not expect to win four years ago and pulled out a victory on part of that blue wall. It's a state that they need this time as well, and these rallies that the President continues to hold, while they are indeed controversial because of the lack of social distancing and the lack of masks, it is still a crucial part of their overall vote getting strategy.

They have a very, very specific and complicated voter modeling system, which is built off of these rallies where every single person here, data on them is collected, information on them is collected, and volunteers and staff will make sure that those people vote. It is a key, Wolf, to the President capturing Pennsylvania again in 2020 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Ryan Nobles covering the President, Arlette Saenz covering the Democratic presidential nominee. We'll get back to both of you.

For more on election analysis right now in the crucial final weekend of the race. Let's bring in former Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Yang and CNN Senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein.

Guys, thanks very much for joining us. Andrew, Americans are on edge right now as you well appreciate: infections -- coronavirus infections, they are soaring. There is no relief at all from Congress right now. People are bracing for unrest after Election Day. So what do you think they are listening? What do you think they hope to hear from these candidates in these final few days?

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, for Joe and his team, it's all about trying to turn the page.

Wolf, everyone knows that Donald Trump and his administration have mishandled the coronavirus at an epic scale and we are seeing record numbers, unfortunately, even now, just as winners arriving and as you just said, and you and I have discussed previously, Congress has dropped the ball in terms of getting relief in the hands of American families who are struggling.

So for Joe, it's a very, very straightforward case. We cannot take four more years of this kind of leadership. We need a different team in the White House and I believe that's going to be a winning message.

BLITZER: I want you guys to stand by for a moment. Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan is introducing the former President Barack Obama and the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. I want to hear what she is saying.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): When Michelle Obama spoke during the Democratic National Convention, she said there was one state where the presidential election was decided by two votes per precinct. Now, she didn't name us, but we knew she was talking about us, right? We knew she was talking about Michigan.


WHITMER: We cannot afford to let that happen again, right?


WHITMER: We have an opportunity. We have an opportunity before us. Are we going to stick and have four more years of callous leadership?


WHITMER: Of leadership that is cruel. That is incompetent. That has led to 230,000 American deaths, tens of millions unemployed during this pandemic, people in food pantry lines who never imagined they need help just putting food on the table, or are we in Michigan, going to vote for two people who have decency, see humanity in others, have integrity and experience in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, are we ready?



WHITMER: All right, so here is what we know. We've got a candidate who can bring us together. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will build bridges, not walls. They will seek common ground not scorched Earth. They will bring us together, Spartans and Wolverines.


WHITMER: Go Green, my friends.


BLITZER: All right, we're going to continue to monitor Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. She is introducing Barack Obama and Joe Biden. We will of course have live coverage of the former President and the former Vice President. Standby for that.

I want to get back to Andrew Yang and Ron Brownstein. You know, Ron, it is really very disturbing, businesses, they've begun boarding up in some cities. Right now, in New York, for example, we see wooden boards coming up on some stores. Here in Washington, D.C., we are seeing that. Where you are in Los Angeles, I know on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, they are boarding up stores.

There's a lot of concern. Law enforcement is worried. We hope it doesn't happen. There could be some post-election unrest. What are you seeing and what are you hearing?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, we see some very disturbing things in the last few days. A Biden tour of Texas was forced to stop because Trump supporters in pickup trucks surrounded the bus on a highway.

We saw a sheriff today in North Carolina using pepper spray against a voting march, something that looked like it was lifted from the 1960s. We have Republicans going into court in Texas to invalidate a hundred thousand legally cast ballots because they were done through a drive- thru. I mean, people should have no illusions about the magnitude of what we are seeing here.

You know, I'm not sure we're going to see after the election. I mean, right now, it is possible that this could be a very decisive election. Wolf, I mean, look at the four CNN polls that have just come out with Biden leading not only in Arizona, and not only in Michigan, in Wisconsin, but also Arizona, and North Carolina, a very consistent pattern from state to state.

I mean, if you look at the big metro areas, really of every state, the places that are driving the economy, that are driving economic growth, Trump may face a historic repudiation in those places.

I mean, he lost 87 of the hundred largest counties in America last time, by 50 million votes, he is probably going to lose 90. He may win counties that produce only about 30 percent of the GDP, and on the other side of that line on, the other side of kind of the non metro that was his base last time where he is spending all of his time in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in Wisconsin, and in North Carolina, he is still strong, but there are some cracks in that fortress.

I mean, both because of the -- the coronavirus has weakened his hold on older voters in those places, and also because Biden is making a very determined push to pick up just a few points among those non- college white voters. Look at the Bruce Springsteen ad that's out tonight with my hometown that will be on in the Penn State-Ohio State game probably tomorrow in the Philadelphia Eagles game, really aimed directly at those voters, rooting Biden in Scranton.

And you look at the CNN polls, he is doing just enough, winning back -- he is up to 40 percent of non-college whites in Michigan, over 45 in Wisconsin. That is the job that Democrats hired him to do, to win back some of those blue collar voters in the Midwest and he is not blowing off the doors, but he is doing just enough to leave Trump in a very, very precarious position.

BLITZER: Ron Brownstein, a huge, huge Bruce Springsteen fan as I know, personally he had been to many, many of his concerts over the years have, very much so.

You know, Andrew, tensions clearly are rising right now, but so is voter enthusiasm right now, especially among the younger voters. Enthusiasm we are told is up about 21 points compared to 2016 based on CNN polling. So, what do you see going on right now?

YANG: Over 90 million Americans have already cast their vote, Wolf, including me, so if you haven't voted yet, go to and join the 90 million plus. That's two thirds of the entire vote total from 2016 and we haven't even reached Election Day.

[18:15:08] YANG: You're seeing record levels of turnout. Young people are coming

out in droves in both mail-in voting and early voting has been tremendous for getting more people to the polls. We are kind of making it easier for voters so that there is almost no excuse not to vote. And this higher turnout is going to help Joe and Kamala and the Democrats.

I do want to caution, Ron, where I agree that the polls look great for Joe, but Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, they are not even allowed to start counting the votes until Election Day.

So in order to have a result on election night, there would need to be wins for Joe in places like Florida and North Carolina, even Texas. We may be in for a bit of a wait. And if there is a wait, unfortunately, that ends up I think fanning the flames of people who want to protest on one side of the other.

BLITZER: Well, that's a really important point. You know, Ron ...

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, those are the states --

BLITZER: ... that Andrew is making, those states will take some time and calling the early ballots that have come in whether by mail or in person, but that will take some time. Florida on the other hand, they've got a lot of excellent experience. They know how to do it. They'll release numbers very, very quickly, most of the state closing in Florida at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, the Central Time Zone, the panhandle at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We should know relatively early in Florida what's going on?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, look, there have been 51 million votes cast in presidential elections in Florida since 1992, and 20,000 total, separate the two parties over that according to Steve Schale, who is kind of one of the premier Democratic strategist in the State of Florida -- it is tough and tight.

It's been Heartbreak Hill for Democrats over the years. But as you say, if Biden wins Florida, it will be a pretty clear indication that this is going to be almost impossible for the President because Florida and really any one of the other major states, I think it is right, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, suddenly they don't have as much expertise and experience in counting this level of direct mail ballots.

But the legislators refuse to change the law to allow any early handling and preparation for the count precisely to give Trump a more leverage in an aftermath period and to try to use the courts to somehow cut off the counting of legal ballots.

I mean, this is a precarious moment, Wolf. You know we are seeing, I think, the most unprecedented effort to not only suppress the vote, but perhaps to invalidate the vote, and it may be a very decisive result in this state.

Certainly, the CNN poll in Michigan today and Wisconsin today is, you know, pointing toward that, but there is a lot of turbulence between here and the finish line. And I think all Americans have to understand that, you know, things that we have taken for granted in terms of the administration of the democracy and that your vote is going to count and is going to be fairly treated is now you know, all of these things are kind of up in the air.

I mean, the idea that a hundred thousand votes in Texas might be invalidated because people voted for -- cast a vote while in their car, I mean, that is something very outside the American tradition, but it is something that is accelerating in these last few days.

BLITZER: That is such a disturbing development all around. All right, Ron Brownstein, thank you. Andrew Yang, thanks to you, as well.

Any moment now, Joe Biden will be joined by former President Barack Obama at a rally in Detroit, Michigan. We're standing by. We'll bring it to you live. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Former President Barack Obama just beginning his campaign speech for Joe Biden in Detroit. Let's listen.

OBAMA: Happy Halloween, everybody.


OBAMA: I like your masks.


OBAMA: Give it up for my dear friend, Mr. Stevie Wonder.



OBAMA: That's original Motown sound.


OBAMA: I miss you, too. That's why I came back.


OBAMA: I love you back. We've got a great crew in your corner here in Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer.


OBAMA: Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Mayor Mike Duggan, Senator Debbie Stabenow, a man who's always fighting for you when you need him, you've got to send him back to the Senate, Gary Peters.


OBAMA: Three outstanding Congresswomen who need to be sent back to the House: Brenda Lawrence, Elissa Slotkin, and Haley Stevens.


OBAMA: And you also have the next President of the United States, Joe Biden. Come on.


OBAMA: Come on. Three days, Detroit. Three days. Three days until the most important election of our lifetimes, and that includes mine, which was pretty important.


OBAMA: This Tuesday, everything is on the line. Our jobs are on the line. Healthcare is on the line. Whether we get this pandemic under control is on the line. And the good news is on Tuesday, you can choose change.


OBAMA: You can elect Joe Biden, you can let Kamala Harris. You can choose a better America. And you don't have to wait until Tuesday to cast your ballot, Michigan. Because here in Michigan, you can vote in person right now.

Go to, find your polling place. Go vote.

If you've already voted, then what do you do? Don't get your friends to vote. Get your family to make a plan to vote. We need everybody to turn up. It is a family affair.

Detroit, Joe Biden is my brother. I love Joe Biden. He will be a great President.

I'll admit 12 years ago, when I asked him to serve as the nominee for Vice President, I didn't know him all that well. We've served in the Senate together, but he had been there while I was still fairly new. He and I came from different places. We came from different generations.

But I came to admire Joe as a man who is decent to his call. A man who learned early on to treat everybody with dignity, and everybody with respect. Somebody who lived by the words his mom taught him, no one is better than you, Joe, but you're no better than anybody else.

And that decency, that empathy, that belief that everybody counts. That's really who Joe is.

And the good news is, that's who he will be when he is President. Because I can tell you something, the presidency doesn't actually change who you are. It just reveals who you are.


OBAMA: And I saw who Joe was, and I saw how seriously he took the work. And I saw how critical it was, from his perspective to make sure that the voices of ordinary families were in the room when decisions were being made.

And for eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better President. He has got the character and experience to make us a better country. And he and Kamala are going to be in the fight, not for themselves, but for every single one of us.

And you know what? You can't -- you can't say that about the President we've got to right now.


OBAMA: I mean, look, I knew Donald Trump wasn't going to agree with me, that he wasn't going to embrace my vision. I understood he wasn't going to continue my policies. But I did hope that he was going to show some interest in taking the job seriously.

Right? I mean, if you get elected President, if you run for President, and you become President, the assumption is you are going to take the job seriously. You're going to understand the solemn obligation when you are sworn in off.

But he never took it seriously. He hasn't shown any interest in just doing the work or helping anybody but himself or his friends or treating the presidency as anything more than a reality show to give him the attention that he craves so desperately.


OBAMA: And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences. Almost 230,000 Americans have died. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed, almost 300,000 jobs are gone in Michigan alone.

America just had its single worst week of new cases. We've been living with this thing for months now. And we just had the worst week in terms of incidents. And in the face of that, what is Donald Trump's closing argument? No, he says that people are too focused on COVID.

COVID, COVID, COVID, he is complaining. He is jealous of COVID's media coverage.


OBAMA: But that's not enough. Now, he is starting to accuse doctors of profiting off this pandemic, he actually said this. He said, they are making a big deal out of it so they can make more money. Who says that?


OBAMA: Here, you've got doctors who are risking their lives to save other people who have to every time they go in, and then they come home, they have to completely isolate themselves, remove all their protective garments, shower, scrub, do everything just to make sure their own families don't get sick, in some cases don't get to see their families. And he is saying they're doing that to make a buck?

He can't fathom that somebody would be willing to make sacrifices for others unless there was some economic motivation, that's how he thinks.

And now we've got his Chief of Staff saying -- he said this on TV. He said we're not going to control the pandemic. Just flat out just said, we're not going to control it. We noticed.


OBAMA: Yes, you're right, and that's why we've got to have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House, because you're not going to control the pandemic.


OBAMA: They just got kind of like, I guess, I'm dating myself. You guys remember "Mad Magazine"? The older people do. Remember, he had Alfred E. Neuman. Remember that? That big grin. Funny looking dude. Ears like mine and he used to say, "What me worry?" He didn't worry about anything. That's how these guys are?

Why should I be worried? The same way you remember when Republicans were saying, "Let Detroit go bankrupt." You remember that?

AUDIENCE: Yes, we remember.

OBAMA: And now they might as well just be saying let America get COVID. It's not our problem. You're exaggerating it. That's what they are literally saying every day.

Listen, if Trump were focused on COVID from the beginning, cases wouldn't be reaching new record highs across the country. And some of the places he is holding rallies have seen new spikes after he leaves town. He is going around having events, big events, no masks, no protective gear, and no precautions.

What's his obsession with crowds, anyway? I mean, he is still worrying -- he is still talking about his inauguration crowd being small.


OBAMA: Although, he doesn't admit it. Does he have nothing better to worry about? That was four years ago.

I mean, what kind of trauma did he go through? Did no one come to his birthday parties when he was a kid?


OBAMA: Is FOX News not giving him enough attention? Lord, and that's the difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump right there.

Trump cares about feeding his ego. Joe cares about keeping you safe and your families safe and getting this country moving again and that's why you've got to make sure that every single one of you vote.

Look, this pandemic would have been challenging for any President. But this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up. Well, the facts tell -- say otherwise.

Canada right across the way, it used to be, you can go there, remember?



OBAMA: Can't go right now. It turns out this administration was building a wall to keep us in by bundling this pandemic. Canada identified its first case, the same week that the U.S. did, the same week.

Our mortality rate, the number of people who die per capita is two and a half times higher. If we had the same mortality rate as they do, then around 90,000 Americans would have died, which would still be a tragedy, but it wouldn't be 230,000 if we had handled this pandemic like Canada did, 140,000 of our fellow Americans might still be alive today. That's a sign of how much leadership in the White House matters. It matters.

This is not a game. This is not a contest of just calling each other names. This isn't a sporting event. This is life or death. And last week when Donald Trump was asked, "Would you do anything differently?" He said, "Not much." Not much. Not really. You can't think of anything you do differently?

Look, there is not a thing I did as president where I didn't look back and say, man, I could have done that a little bit better. Even the stuff that worked, he can't think of one thing?


OBAMA: Not one thing.


OBAMA: Oh, lord.


OBAMA: Look, I understand this is a president who wants full credit for the economy he inherited and get zero blame for the pandemic he ignored. But the job doesn't work that way, tweeting at the TV doesn't fix things. Making stuff up doesn't make people's lives better.

You got to have a plan, you've got to do the work. And along with the experience to get things done, Joe Biden has concrete plans and policies that will turn our vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into reality. Joe Biden is not going to screw up testing. He's not going to call scientists idiots. He's not going to host super spreader rallies around the country or in the White House. Joe will get this pandemic under control with a plan to make testing

free and widely available and get a vaccine to every American cost free and make sure our frontline heroes never have to ask other countries for the equipment that they need. His plan will guarantee paid sick leave for workers and parents affected by the pandemic. And make sure that the small businesses that hold our communities together and employ millions of Americans can reopen safely. Small businesses in every community, not just some communities, not just big corporations.

Donald Trump likes to claim he built this economy. America created 1.5 million more jobs in the last three years of the Obama-Biden administration than in the first three years of the Trump-Pence administration, that's a fact. That was before he could blame the pandemic.

Joe Biden and I worked to rescue the auto industry. Gary Peters was there. Debbie Stabenow was there. Gary Peters understood what was at stake he told us to bet on Michigan and we did and manufacturing grew in Michigan by 15 percent over our final four years in office. Donald Trump came in and he said, I'm going to make Michigan the manufacturing hub of the world. It's up 1 percent under his first four years 15 to one.

We handed him the longest streak of job growth in American history. But the economic damage that he's inflicted by botching the pandemic response means he'll be the only president since Herbert Hoover to actually lose jobs. Herbert Hoover. That's the 30s. That's a long time ago.

We've been with a lot of presidents since Herbert Hoover. He'll be the first one to lose jobs during his presidency. Joe Biden and Gary Peters know that the key to a strong economy, it's not tax cuts for billionaires. It's lifting the prospects of working Americans. And Joe's got a plan to create 1 million new auto-related jobs by accelerating electric vehicle production.


He's going to create 10 million good clean energy jobs to fight climate change and secure environmental justice and he's going to pay for it by rolling back Trump's tax cuts for billionaires.

Joe Biden sees this as a moment not just to get back to where we were. He wants to build on the progress we made during our administration and he wants to take it further. He wants to make long overdue changes so that our economy actually works for everybody, makes life a little easier for everybody.

The waitress trying to raise a kid on her own. The student trying to figure out how to pay for next semester's classes. The shift worker, always on edge of getting laid off. That cancer survivor who's worried about her pre-existing conditions protections being taken away. Love you, appreciate you. I really do and I'm grateful.

Listen, let's talk about health care for a second. Republicans love to say right before an election, they'll protect your pre-existing conditions. Joe and I actually protected them 10 years ago with the Affordable Care Act. We didn't get Republican votes. Not one. And Republicans have tried to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times.

Why they want to take people's health care away is not clear to me. I don't know why you'd have that kind of spirit to say, you know what, I want to make sure that person doesn't have health care. I don't know why they would think that way. And when they're asked about it, they say, no, no, no, we're going to repeal it, but we're going to replace it with something even better. Even bigger, more beautiful.

They promised a new plan for 10 years now. No plan. For two years, when this new president came in office, he had a Republican Congress, could have passed this beautiful new plan, didn't happen. They still don't have a plan. When they're asked about it, nobody can find it. They're looking around.

It's the same place they put the pandemic playbook that we gave him to tell him how to deal with a pandemic. It's lost. It's gone. Missing. Instead, they just attacked the Affordable Care Act at every turn, driving up costs, driving up the uninsured. Now, they've got a (inaudible) ...

BLITZER: All right. It looks like they're having some audio issues over there in Detroit. The former President Barack Obama is speaking, but his microphone doesn't seem to be working right now, for some reason. We hear a lot of cars honking right now, a lot of cars at that drive-in rally in Detroit. He's been speaking for a while really railing against the current President of the United States.

He says that there will be three days until the most important election, he says, of our lifetime and then he added including his elections as well. He's been speaking robustly very positively, obviously about the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. He says Joe Biden is my brother. I love Joe Biden.

Mark Preston is with us, our Political Analyst, as we wait for that, the audio there in Detroit to get fixed, Mark. Clearly, the former president does amazing work for the current Democratic presidential nominee in the critically important issue of getting out the vote.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, somebody who seems to be really energized by the crowd. We saw him earlier today as well, Wolf. He really seems to be connecting with this group.

And look, this is somebody that Joe Biden certainly needs in states like Michigan.


We're also seeing him head down, Wolf, to Florida we've been told. He's also going to be going down to Georgia as well. These are two states that really shouldn't be in play necessarily for Joe Biden. But they are and they think that Barack Obama can help drive out the vote in these two states. It's worth noting, Wolf, Democrats have not won in Georgia since Bill

Clinton won the state back in 1992. And they've only wanted three times in the last 12 years. And in Florida, they've only won four times in the last 12 years, which says something about where we are in the state of electoral politics today, Wolf.

BLITZER: The Democrats are not taking anything for granted, Mark, in our new CNN poll, which we just released just a little while ago, among likely voters in Michigan right now. That's where Barack Obama is right now, where Joe Biden is right now. They're speaking to the voters specifically in Michigan.

The new CNN poll has Biden at 53 percent. Trump at 41 percent. That's a pretty robust lead. But clearly, the Democrats are not taking that for granted. They're working hard in Michigan, Mark, right now.

PRESTON: For a couple reasons. One is that they gave up on Michigan as is well been documented back in 2016. When I say giving up, they just didn't put the resources and time that they needed into it and they lost it by less than half a percentage point.

At the same time too is there is concern amongst Democrats and just talking to them globally in the sense, nationally, is there are concern that there are perhaps some Trump voters that are not acknowledging that, in fact, they're going to support Donald Trump when they're talking to pollsters, when they're talking to friends and in fact that is a bit of a concern.

So these leads that we're seeing in the polls, perhaps, are going to shrink and in some states, they may flip as well, Wolf. There's still several days left for this election.

BLITZER: It's also if you listen to the former president Barack Obama, well, actually, I think they fixed the audio. Just hold your thought for a moment over there. Let's go listen to the former president.

OBAMA: ... to try to take away more health care as we speak. And then - I mean, and the insurance policy that we need is to make sure that we got Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in there and then we got Gary Peters, because we cannot allow anyone to take away health care right in the middle of a pandemic.

They may try to get the Supreme Court to take away your health care and just have an empty promise to take its place. You got Mitch McConnell pouring millions of outside Super PAC dollars in the Michigan to try to beat Gary Peters. But Detroit, Joe, and Kamala and Gary will protect your health care. They will expand Medicare. They'll make insurance more affordable for everybody and they'll make sure that our health care workers and our frontline workers have the protections they need if you vote.

Now, here's one other thing that's important. Joe and Kamala when they're in the White House, you won't have to just think about him every day. They won't be trying to get your attention every day. You're not going to have to just shake your head and slap your forehead every day. It won't be so exhausting. You will be able to go about your lives knowing that the president is

working and you're not going to have to worry about a president who suggests that maybe we inject bleach as a cure for COVID. You won't have a president who's retweeting conspiracy theories that Navy SEALs didn't actually killed bin Laden.

We won't have a president who's going to go out of his way to insult anybody who doesn't agree with him. You won't have a president who just makes stuff up every day, multiple times a day, probably doing it right now as we speak. It is not normal behavior.

We would not tolerate it from a high school principal. We won't tolerate it from a coach. We won't tolerate it from a co-worker. Can you imagine if you were working for somebody and they just lied every day, at a certain point, you'd be like, you know what, we would fire him.

Why would we accept this from the President of the United States? Because there are consequences to this. There are consequences to his actions. They emboldened people to be mean, and divisive, and racist and appraise the fabric of our society and our lives.


It affects how our children see things and how they interact. It affects the way our families get along, it affects the way the world looks at America. That's why Joe talks about the soul of America. And that's more than anything is what separates him from his opponent.

He cares about every American, not just some and he cares about the values that make this country exceptional. I know Joe Biden. He does not have a mean-spirited bone in his body. He cares about everybody's story. He wants to hear everybody's voice. He tries to live by the values that we cherish honesty and hard work kindness, and humility, responsibility, helping out somebody who's having a hard time.

When I when I hear this kind of phony macho, acting tough, snarling all the time, that's not what it used to be to be a man, a father, a leader. You can go around bragging all the time, you didn't go around putting other people down and Joe understands that. And when you like Joe, that's what you'll see reflected in the White House.

And these shouldn't be Republican values or Democratic values. They're what our parents taught us, what our grandparents taught us. It's what we still try to pass on to our kids. They're not white values or black values or Latino or Asian or Native American, they're American values and we have to reclaim them.

But to do that, we're going to have to turn out like never before. To reclaim what's best in this country, we can leave no doubt. We cannot afford to be complacent, not this time. Not in this election. Last time, we were complacent, some of us.

Some of us said, I don't need to bother voting. And listen, I understand why Americans get frustrated sometimes, they think government might not make a difference. Because government is not perfect, elected officials, even the best aren't perfect.

Governments not going to solve every problem, but it can make things better. A president can't solve every economic problem by himself. But if we elect people like Gary Peters, and Brenda Lawrence, and Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens, and we get a House and a Senate that's more focused on working people and getting you the help you need, we can make things better, it can make a difference.

Some more folks will get jobs, some young people will get more opportunity, some folks will be able to afford a college education, some folks will be able to go to and get an apprenticeship and get a trade. A president by himself can't eliminate all racial bias in our criminal justice system. Electing me didn't end - it didn't make us post racial.

But you know what? It can if we elect district attorneys and state's attorneys and sheriffs focused on equality and justice. And we have a justice department that reinvigorates the Civil Rights Division. It can make things better and then maybe some folks won't be subject to some of the tragedies that we've seen over these last few months.

And that's what voting is about. It's not about making things perfect. It's about making things better. And better is good. Putting us on track so that a generation from now we can look back and say, you know what, right about then we turn the corner and we started back on a better trajectory.

The fact that we don't get a hundred percent of what we want is not a good reason not to vote. It's a reason to keep voting until we do get it right. Well, on average just over 50 percent of us vote. Fifty percent.

You've got almost half of eligible voters not voting and so those are some of the same folks complaining. But imagine if 60 percent of us vote, imagine if 70 percent of us vote. Imagine January 20 and we swear in a president and a vice president who have a plan to get us out of this mess, who care about working Americans and have a plan to help you start getting ahead.


Who believe in science, who have a plan to protect this planet for our kids, who believe in racial equality and do the work to bring us closer to an America where no matter what we look like or where we come from or who we love or how much money we got, everybody's got dignity. Everybody is treated with respect. Everybody's got a chance to raise a family.

Michigan, that can happen and I'm asking you to remember what this country can be. The thing is that we can't just imagine a better future. We've got to fight for it. We got to add hustle to the other side. We got to get to work. We got to vote up and down the ticket like never before. We've got to leave no doubt about who we are and what this country stands for.

And if we do, we will send Gary Peters back to the Senate. We'll send Brenda Lawrence and Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens back to the House and we will elect a man who loves this country, who cares about you, who will fight for every single one of us. My friends, a real leader, the next President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.

BLITZER: Vice President Joe Biden is running up to the stage right now. Got a terrific, terrific introduction from his running mate, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama. There you see Joe Biden. He's going to be speaking right now. They're in Detroit.

Michigan is a key battleground state. As we wait for Joe Biden to take the microphone, Michael Smerconish, the host of CNN's "SMERCONISH" is with us right now. How important, Michael, is the Obama effort to get the vote out for Joe Biden right now?

Hold on. Hold on.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Hey, Wolf, I've done a fair amount ...

BLITZER: Hold on one second. Biden is just starting to talk, I want to listen in. Right after he's done, we will talk. Stand by.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be with so many friends. Mayor Duggan, you're one hell of a mayor, man. I spent a lot of time with you. President gave me an easy assignment. He said, Detroit is in trouble, get them what they need.

Well, I'll tell you what, all I did was listen to what Duggan told me to do and I did. And Gretchen Whitmer, Gov. Whitmer, you are one quite great governor and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist. My buddy Debbie Stabenow, your once and future senator, Gary Peters. You can always count on Gary to be there for you and your family and that's a fact. And Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, we need to send you back to the House just like we need to send Haley back, Haley Stevens.

And I'll tell you what, you know that Slotkin girl. She happens to be at Congress. Two things you got to know about her, she's forgotten more about intelligence community, the CIA, the most people ever know and the second thing you got to know, she's smarter than you. It's harder. And Stevie Wonder is here. Stevie has been a powerful voice for justice for a long time and he's generally a national treasure.

And of course, President Barack Obama. I'll tell you what, didn't he make you a little nostalgic just hearing him compared to - compare (inaudible) compare to God Almighty. It's great to see you, Mr. President. It's great to hang out with you. It reminds us that we can have a president with character, decency, respect. A president respected around the world. The President our kids could and did look up to.

I want to say something we don't say often enough. President Obama was a great president. And one of the great honors I had was not only serving with him, but becoming a good personal friend. Our families became close. My two granddaughters and two of his two daughters went all through school together, remain each other's best buddies. So I want to make sure to say it here today, Mr. President, thank you. Thank you for everything and thanks for reminding us what we can be again.


Look, I want to start on a serious note here by extending my condolences to the Chaldean Syrian community here in Michigan on the 10th anniversary of Our Lady of Deliverance Church massacre in Baghdad.

I was there in Baghdad. I met with the Archbishop. I've been to Baghdad many, many times during the war. And I tell you what, they were worried back then and after it occurred, I came out here. Look, the right to worship is a fundamental right in America. And as Americans, we should be proud that people from all over the world find a home here in our communities, here in Michigan, where the right to vote is the most fundamental right and the right to protect our religious freedoms.

And so my heart goes out to all those, 10 years seems like a long time but not if you lost somebody. It's like yesterday. So you have my empathy, my sympathy and my support.

Well, Detroit, three days, three days, three days to put an end to a presidency that has divided this nation. Three days, we could put an end to a presidency that's failed to protect this nation.

Three days, we can put an end to a president that has fanned the flames of hate all across this nation. Millions of Americans have already voted, over 85 million so far, they tell me. Millions more are going to vote in the days ahead, because as the President said, we have to overwhelmingly vote and overwhelmingly win this thing.

So my message is simple. The power to change the country is in your hands. I don't care how hard Donald Trump tries. There's nothing, nothing he's going to do to stop the people of America from voting. Nothing. And when Americans vote, we will be heard. When America is heard, I believe the message is going to be loud and clear. It's time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home.

As the President said, we're done with the chaos, with the tweets, with the anger, with the hate, with the failure, with the irresponsibility. Folks, we got a lot of work to do. I don't need you to get me elected. I need you once I'm elected. Because if I'm elected your president, we're going to get things done. We're going to act. We're going to move. We're going to move for all our families. We're going to actually get COVID under control.

On day one of my presidency we'll put an action plan I've been talking about for months, masking, social distancing, testing, tracing, plan for full and fair and free distribution of therapeutics and vaccines when we get one. Imagine where we'd be if we had a president who had worn a mask instead of mocked it.

I could tell you this, we have 9 million confirmed cases of COVID in this nation, 9 million. We wouldn't have 230,000 deaths, we wouldn't be seeing these new record numbers of cases, we're seeing every single night now. Nearly 100,000 cases nationwide in the United States just yesterday. We wouldn't be facing another 200,000 predicted deaths in the next few months.

This president knew in January this virus was deadly. Remember I kept saying and others have said, look, his intelligence community has briefed him and briefed in detail. But what did he say? He said, no, I never read the reports. Well, that didn't surprise me. But it turns out he did. He knew and he hid it from the American people.

He knew it was so much worse than the flu. He lied to the American people. He knew it wasn't going to disappear, but he kept telling us a miracle is coming.

And just yesterday he had the gull, as Barack said, to say the doctors, the people who have been on the frontlines, some have given their lives along with nurses and other first responders, he suggested these doctors were falsely inflating deaths due to COVID because they wanted to make money. What in the hell is a matter with this man? What's the matter with him?


Look, the people in this nation have suffered and sacrificed for nine months.