Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Tom Ridge is Interviewed about the Election and Pennsylvania; More Results in the Presidential Race; Analysis of the Election Results. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 06:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:33:17]

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A lot changed overnight and it happened in Pennsylvania. Still, the president still ahead, slightly there by about 18,000 votes. Big news coming out of Georgia, though, where Joe Biden pulled ahead overnight, in case you were just waking up.

Let's talk more about Pennsylvania, though, and the former Pennsylvania governor, Tom Ridge, joins us also, the first secretary of Homeland Security.

Good morning, Secretary.

TOM RIDGE (R), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Don, Chris, good morning. It's been a long night for you folks, so happy to join you.

LEMON: Well, I'm glad that you are watching us and I'm glad that you're joining us.

I'm not sure if you heard the commissioner on CNN not long ago. Sorry about that. Not long ago saying that -- that he was expecting some vote counts coming out of the Philadelphia area. Not sure how many. Maybe in the tens of thousands.

Where do you think this race is right now in Pennsylvania?

RIDGE: Well, listen, I -- first of all, I've got to tell you, my stomach's been churning since the president's remarks last night, churning with both disgust and anger. And, for me, it's not a political moment, it's about respecting the most sacred and fundamental institution in this democracy. And it's the electoral process. It's about respecting the millions of people who went to vote in-person or absentee in the midst of a pandemic that has killed 235,000 people. It's about respecting the Republicans and the Democrats who are going to the polls and those who -- local elected officials that are working tirelessly to effectively deliver the vote. And for the president of the United States to say that there's fraud attendant to these absentee ballots, it's a baseless, bogus, unsubstantiated claim. And it's disrespecting everyone associated with this process.

[06:35:02]

So I'm troubled by it. I'm like everybody else. Look, I've got a favorite. Vice President Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate for whom I've ever cast a vote. I say that proudly. I'm still a lifelong Republican. But the bottom line is, I'm prepared to accept the vote once all votes are counted. So let's let the process proceed.

Mr. President, you don't call the election. I say respectfully, CNN and the networks don't call the election. Americans call the election. And then the states, not the federal government, certify it. So let's let the game continue.

LEMON: I'm so glad that you -- you said that. A lot of people were -- were concerned and troubled by those remarks, as we all should be. The president undermining, really, a free and fair election in this country.

Since you went there, and I just wanted to be clear, there have been -- there haven't been any voting issues that you're aware of in Pennsylvania?

RIDGE: None whatsoever. You know, from time to time, whether it's Pennsylvania or anywhere else, Don, there's some -- some -- maybe -- it's an imperfect system. I remember, I think it was the Heritage Foundation, a very conservative, well-regarded think tank, take a look back at over 20 years and saw like 200 cases of ballot fraud being identified and prosecuted. But these claims have been bogus.

I mean, by and large, if you take a look at what's going on in Philadelphia, which seems to be a pivotal point or focus of the president's attention or ire, you've got poll workers there, poll watchers there, Republicans and Democrats. You've got cameras all over the place. This may be the most transparent election because of the president's assertion months ago when he, and probably it might even have been part of the strategy, they formulated an opinion, they started articulating it months ago, that said, if there's a delay post November 3rd, it means there'll be fraud. Well, Mr. President, there's a delay post November 3rd, not because there's a fraud, but because there's a pandemic.

LEMON: Yes.

RIDGE: And give credit to governors, both Republicans and Democrats, to worked tirelessly within their states to provide safe and secure in-person balloting opportunities and absentee balloting opportunities. Let the absentee ballots be counted. Live with the results. Let America voices speak. They're the only ones that count anyhow, Mr. President.

LEMON: Well, listen, I'm so glad you spoke about that. And also, just so our viewers know, you're not just saying this now. You tweeted out earlier, you said, the president disrespected every single American who figured out a way to safely vote amid a pandemic that has taken 235,000 lives. Absolutely shameful.

I'm glad you're speaking out. I'm sure America's glad you're speaking out.

I just have to ask you, though, one quick question. As a Republican, when you hear these attacks on our democracy, are these the new opening arguments for the new Republican Party?

RIDGE: Well, it remains to be seen. And I know there's a lot of unrest and uneasiness within the party. I think they're going to have this close election. They're have to -- going to do some real soul searching and see whether or not the past four years the fundamentals of the historic party, the Ronald Reagan Republican Party, have been projected publicly and whether or not we've demonstrated over the past four years a sense of empathy and humanity and outreach to all Americans, not just to supporters of Donald Trump, that make us worthy of leadership in the future. Time will tell. We've got some introspection and --

LEMON: Governor --

RIDGE: To do and hopefully we'll be more stronger and more robust party in the future.

LEMON: Governor, Secretary, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. You've got a lot of people in the studio nodding their heads in agreement with you.

Governor and Secretary Tom Ridge, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Be well.

RIDGE: (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.

LEMON: We're watching Pennsylvania very, very closely and we expect major news out of Pennsylvania very soon. It could happen in minutes.

And in Georgia, Biden is stunning, right now, he's stunning the Trump camp this morning because he is ahead.

Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:43:08]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Joe Biden took the lead in Georgia from President Trump. How and can he hold it? Pennsylvania is going to give us votes. Why does it seem like it will change hands as well? And what does this mean for who gets to 270 and when? All good questions.

Thank God for you, because I can't answer any of them.

Let's start with Georgia.

How did it change hands? PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, we've been digging in on

the county level for the last couple of hours, but the big picture here is what's so important. Say Joe Biden ends up winning the state of Georgia. What does that mean going forward? Well, we know that President Trump is leading in the state of North Carolina right now. We know he might win Alaska, he's probably going to end up winning Alaska, so we'll go ahead and give those to him just for the sake of playing this out.

Now, we expect Joe Biden to overtake President Trump's lead in Pennsylvania soon. But what if somehow President Trump finds the votes to hang on to Pennsylvania? What if he wins Arizona? Right now he's trailing in Arizona. What if he comes back? He's been narrowing the margin. What if he wins Nevada? Trailing by about 11,000 votes in Nevada. We'll see what happens there. But, for the sake of argument, and he goes ahead and wins Maine's first congressional -- second congressional district. Look, that's not enough.

CUOMO: You're in Constitution zone of that whole process about what happens here.

And it all starts with Georgia.

MATTINGLY: Right.

CUOMO: And the problem with Georgia for President Trump, not just because it is this linchpin, but it's a horrible narrative point for him because this toxic soup that he was ladling out for everybody last night is defeated by the reality in Georgia. So it's cheating? So it's fraud? It's not just that you don't have the votes? Republican governor, Republican secretary of state, Republican infrastructure, no claims of fraud. No claims of irregularities except the once that were made up by our president. So not a great story for him on top of not a great reality.

Now, Pennsylvania, why do we focus on it as one and done for Biden?

MATTINGLY: Well, just take a look. Say President Trump comes back and wins Georgia --wins Georgia.

[06:45:05]

I don't know why it's not moving right now.

The reality --

CUOMO: Make it do your will.

MATTINGLY: No, it's finally freaking out on me after all this time.

Here's the bottom line. If Joe Biden wins the state of Pennsylvania, Joe Biden's at 253 electoral votes right now. That is all Joe Biden needs -- the map is acting up on us right now. It's given up on us after about 30 hours.

CUOMO: Ignore it, then it will start to do the right thing. MATTINGLY: Here's the reality. Here's the numbers. Joe Biden is at 253 electoral votes. Pennsylvania is 20 electoral votes. In short order we expect, based on what's outstanding and how the vote has been coming in, that Joe Biden will overtake President Trump in the state of Pennsylvania. If that holds based on what's outstanding, that is 273 electoral votes. You can give President Trump everything outstanding on the map, whether it's Alaska or Nevada or Arizona, Maine two, North Carolina, and Georgia. If Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania, it's over, that's the ballgame.

Here's the one wildcard that I want to throw out there. That is, right now, Vice President Biden is leading in Georgia, he's leading in Arizona, he is leading in Nevada. He will likely soon be leading in Pennsylvania. Why does all that matter? That's 306 electoral votes. If he's able to hold on to all of those right now, we don't know that that's going to be the case, still counting votes, still waiting to see what's going on.

We talked about this a little bit earlier and I think it's an important point. Given what the Trump campaign has talked about in terms of litigation, in terms of what they're looking into, in terms of potential recount, especially in a state like Georgia, 306 electoral votes. Look, 270, in any way, shape, or form, you get it, it makes you president of the United States. And 306 takes out a lot of the options in terms of what you can litigate, what you try and go after, any types of concerns, fraudulent or not, that you try to lay out there.

So I think the Biden campaign wants 270 any way that they can get them, but 306 would probably be a little bit more comfortable given everything we've seen over the course of the last couple of days.

CUOMO: There's a good chance that this will get ugly early. And I think it's important that people are aware of that. The president is looking at this through the lens of addition through subtraction. How can he get rid of votes?

Remember, this isn't about him. It's about our democracy.

Let's take a quick break. We'll figure out what Phil did to the wall and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:51:12]

LEMON: We are back now. Look at that live shot. That's a live shot of Wilmington, Delaware. That's where the acceptance speech was supposed to happen on Tuesday night, possibly, but it's been this way for three days. Just cars -- how long have these cars been out there? They just park? Who knows?

Back now with the group here, Andrew Yang, S.E. Cupp and John Avlon.

So here we -- listen, think about all the things that happened overnight, right? I mean I think this has been, since election night, probably the night that's had, or morning, that's had the most twists and turns, don't you think?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, certainly if you're looking -- if you're looking at Georgia and we're watching Pennsylvania very closely. It's been a couple of days of stasis on like a razor's edge.

But I think it's really important to point out, this is all happening the way Trump demanded it happen, right?

LEMON: Right on (ph).

CUPP: He told his voters to go out and vote in person on Election Day. They did. He wanted his votes counted right away, not days later. They have been.

The fact that the process he demanded isn't like rigging it for him isn't a conspiracy, it's just like a bad self-own (ph).

LEMON: He did it -- he did it to himself, right, yes.

CUPP: Right.

LEMON: It's a bad self-own (ph). And, also, again, telling people, wait until the day. Well, he may have gotten more votes --

CUPP: Right.

LEMON: And he told more people to get it in early.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And they wouldn't be coming in disproportionately Joe Biden at this point. It's in the context of a pandemic that was mismanaged, absentee up, demonizing mail-in ballots and this is what you've wrought. And there's also some poetic irony in that it's John Lewis' district in Georgia and the Atlanta metro area coming through. It's John McCain and Cindy McCain campaigning for Biden in Arizona.

LEMON: And Arizona.

AVLON: It's Joe -- it's Joe Biden's home state of Pennsylvania, hard- fought, and everybody better break out the Ray Charles, because we're going to have Georgia on the mind, not just today as these votes come in, but the special election coming up.

LEMON: We were doing lots of analysis last time we were here, yesterday morning, about what Democrats needed to do.

Tom Ridge, you saw the former governor there of Pennsylvania, and the first Home Security secretary, saying, Republicans have to do some soul searching as well, especially -- he was very strong saying, what the president is saying and doing about these fraudulent election and so on, that it's being stolen, it was terrible, he should not be doing.

But Republicans really need to have a come-to-Jesus about where their party's going as well, regardless of who's in the White House. ANDREW YANG, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They -- they do, but we should get

used to saying President-elect Joe Biden because the math says that today is going to be a day to celebrate for millions. Joe, you did it! Thank you, Joe! Yes! We're back, America! Let's call it!

AVLON: We've got to -- we've got to -- we've got to have the -- we've got to do the math -- we've got to do the math, Andrew! Hang on.

(CROSS TALK)

CUPP: CNN hasn't called this race yet.

LEMON: Wait a minute! From the guy who has the math.

YANG: The math is heading in a very clear direction. The math guy says that we should get used to President-elect Joe Biden, the Trump era is receding and there's going to be a celebration today. Millions of us are going to be celebrating.

CUPP: No (ph).

LEMON: You -- and it could be -- let's show the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, if it indeed goes the way that Andrew Yang says or believe that it's going -- is all excited about it.

By the way, we're going to take away his coffee or Red Bull or whatever he's drinking over there. He's a little excited.

This is where they'll be giving the acceptance speech. But do you think the occupant of the White House is going to be giving a condolence speech if it -- not -- a concession speech if it indeed goes the way that Andrew says? It's not over yet.

CUPP: No, not anytime soon. Can -- but can I just address something that Tom Ridge said? I thought what he said was really important, as a Republican of a certain era.

LEMON: Yes.

CUPP: When we talk about like a fog of war and history, reimagining the way things look years later --

LEMON: Yes.

CUPP: You know, I think the Iraq War looks worse than it did when almost every Democrat voted for it, for example.

AVLON: Sure.

[06:55:01]

CUPP: There will be no fog of war to lift after this. What the president said last night will not look different or better in five, ten years.

LEMON: Yes. Got to -- CUPP: What he did was try to break democracy. It looks bad now.

LEMON: I've got --

AVLON: And that's going to go on.

CUPP: It will look bad later.

LEMON: I've got to get us out of here. I've got to get the break. We've got to get to the top of the hour.

Chris, it has been an amazing time to spend with you. So I'll see you soon.

Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, John King, the entire gang, they're going to pick up for us at the election center in Washington, D.C., live right after this.

I'll see you, buddy!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, as we yet again begin another day covering the presidential election.

Right now we're watching a very important race between former Vice President Biden and President Trump in a must-win battleground state for the presidency. We're talking about Pennsylvania. Biden closing in on Trump in Pennsylvania. A win there would put him over the top in electoral votes. And that could potentially happen very, very soon. We're standing by for more votes from Pennsylvania at any moment now.

Biden also gaining momentum in Georgia, taking a slim lead over Trump in that traditionally red state. At this hour, Biden is looking to add to his 253 electoral votes, aiming for the winning number of 270. President Trump with 213 electoral votes is seeing his options slipping away right now.

Let's get a key race alert.

All right, let's start in Georgia right now, 16 electoral votes, 99 percent of the estimated vote is now in and Biden has a lead, a small lead, 1,096 votes over Trump.

[07:00:05]

Look at that, 49.4 percent, 49.4 percent.