Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Votes Still being Counted in Pennsylvania and Georgia for U.S. Presidential Election; Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Takes Lead in Georgia Vote Count; Joe Biden Closes Gap with President Trump in Pennsylvania Vote Count; Biden on Brink of Election, Pennsylvania, Georgia in Sight. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 6, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back here in the CNN Election Center awaiting results that could potentially be decisive in the cliffhanger presidential race. I'm Wolf Blitzer.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is now very, very close. There is a contest with President Trump under way in Pennsylvania, and Biden could overtake him at any moment when we get new results. We're watching the vote counting in Philadelphia as we wait for those new totals to be revealed. A win in Pennsylvania would be enough, certainly enough to make Biden president-elect of the United States. He also has momentum from his new lead in Georgia, inching ahead of the president. We're standing by for new votes from that state as well.

Right now, look at this, Biden has 253 electoral votes, on the brink of the 270 he needs to win, that number could soon go up, while President Trump's options for adding to his current count of 213 are running out. Let's get a key race alert right now. Let's start off in Pennsylvania where 95 percent of the estimated vote is now in. Plenty of votes outstanding, 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania. Trump still has a lead of 18,049, 49.5 percent to 49.2 percent, but that lead could collapse fairly soon.

In Georgia right now Biden has taken the lead, it's a small lead, but he is ahead by 1,096 votes, 49.4 percent to 49.4 percent, 99 percent of the estimated vote in Georgia is in. In Arizona, 90 percent of the estimated vote is in. Biden maintains his lead of about 47,000 votes, 51.1 percent to 48.5 percent. And in Nevada 89 percent of the estimated vote is in, Biden there also continues to maintain a lead of about 11,400 votes, 49.4 percent to 48.5 percent.

Let's go over to Pamela Brown at the CNN voting desk. You're looking, Pamela, very closely at where the outstanding votes remain.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. And we are expecting results, Wolf, this morning that could help Joe Biden clinch this election. Let's look at what we have. In Pennsylvania, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, look at this, 163,000 mail-in ballots left. And any moment now we are expecting Philadelphia to report the latest results. They had workers there overnight, there was a shift change, but we are expecting results soon. Right now in Philadelphia they have 50,000 outstanding ballots. The update is expected, again, any moment now.

And then you look at Georgia, 10,000 ballots left to count. We saw Joe Biden take the lead in Georgia overnight. And then in Arizona, Maricopa County, populous county there in Arizona, Democratic stronghold, 204,000 early ballots left there in Maricopa. The next update there should be coming at 11:00 a.m.

Finally tonight in Nevada, Clark County, 51,000 ballots left in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas, populous county there in Nevada, Democratic stronghold. Next update there at 1:00 p.m. We are watching this all very closely. We'll bring you the latest updates, Wolf, as soon as we get them.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Pamela, we'll get back to you.

John King, we are looking at this contest, and you take a look at the popular vote nationwide, 91 percent of the vote is in, and Biden is beating Trump by more than 4 million votes.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And that, Wolf, likely to grow. Remember, we are still counting a lot of votes on the west coast. We're counting votes coast to coast, actually, but a lot of votes still out in California. We don't pay much attention to it because it's reliably Democratic. But look, they are just at 77 percent of the count there, Joe Biden getting more than 8 million votes in California. So that one is going to grow, and that will be part of the legacy of this election.

The first challenge, though, get one candidate to 270 electoral votes, and that's why the hours and perhaps even the minutes ahead could be decisive. Again, Pam just laid it out, you see Pennsylvania is still red on our map, but Georgia is blue. If you left us after midnight last night, that's the biggest change right there, Georgia has changed to blue. President Trump was leading, Joe Biden leads it now. Donald Trump cannot win reelection, cannot get to 270 unless he wins both of these states, which is why the wait on Pennsylvania is so critical.

So let's start there. Let me turn this up and bring this out. You watch this here, at one point Tuesday night into Wednesday, the president's lead was some 600,000 votes plus in Pennsylvania. It is now 18,049. As Pam noted, about 150,000 votes still outstanding, and we believe about 50,000 of them come right from here, sorry, excuse me, touch there, in Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, a Democratic stronghold, you see Joe Biden getting 81 percent of the vote. As they count these mail-in ballots repeatedly throughout the day yesterday, his percentage is even higher because Democrats voted mostly by mail in this election, Republicans turned out on Election Day.

[08:05:00]

So just right here, 50,000 plus votes to go, you see the lead of 18,000 right there, simple math tells you Joe Biden can overcome that lead just in Philadelphia. But there are more votes out there. The suburban collar around Philadelphia, I'll move the map up a little bit, this is where Democrats build their lead, you see all that red, smaller rural counties, the president is very strong. The president has a higher vote total in Pennsylvania right now than he did four years ago when he flipped this state. But Democrats are voting, too, and they're still counting the ballots, and Joe Biden is within striking distance.

And Wolf, we are going to focus down here, Philadelphia and the suburbs. But again, if you move up here, Lehigh County, what's the big difference here? Four years ago you see 50 to 45. You come up here now, Joe Biden at 52. A little bit up here, and this was red most of the day yesterday, the Election Day vote had the president ahead. As they count these mail-in ballots especially in these Democratic counties, the math is changing.

This is southeast Pennsylvania. Let's go out to northwest Pennsylvania, the other corner of the state, Erie County, blue collar town, not far from where Wolf Blitzer grew up in Buffalo, New York. Blue collar place here, traditionally Democratic. Four years ago President Trump carried Erie County just barely, 49 to 47. This has been a battleground within the battleground, if you will. Red most of the day yesterday because President Trump won by big margins, the Election Day vote. Democrats voted by mail, that's what they're counting last in this state. Then you see this flipped to blue last night, and there are still more votes. They're up to 95 percent right now.

The point I'm making is where you see the deep blue on this map, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, another place, 94 percent, some 36,000 ballots to be counted here. The ones that came in yesterday were coming in at 80 percent or more for Joe Biden. So you see that 60 percent, just shy of that, is what he is winning in the total vote. And remember, Election Day vote, early vote, mail-in vote, that's everything counted so far, but what is left to be counted is just the mail-in vote. And in those mail-in votes Joe Biden consistently getting high 70s, sometimes over 80 percent.

So the math tells you Joe Biden when they report more votes out of Philadelphia and these other communities across Pennsylvania is going to pass that. The challenge in the end is by how much, because the president is making, at the moment baseless, we have no public documentation of any of what the president is alleging, but without a doubt, you bring that out, 20 electoral votes, the biggest prize still on the board, that would put Joe Biden over the finish line. That would be an exclamation point if you keep that. And it's important to note, Joe Biden can win without either of these two states. He is in the lead in Georgia, we expect him to pass the president in Pennsylvania any minute now. He's also still leading in Arizona and Nevada. If he just holds those two states where they're still counting, he is the next president of the United States. This would be an exclamation point. That would be a statement, because it was so important to the president four years ago. This is likely to be the decisive day, Wolf, as we count these votes.

BLITZER: It would be so important in recreating that blue wall with Michigan and Wisconsin already going for Biden. If he got Pennsylvania as well, that would be the tradition.

KING: Right, absolutely. So let's look at it that way. Let's go back to 2016. These three states right here, no offense to the other states that supported the president, but this was the big flip. Since 1992 the Democrats had carried Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, 20, 16, 10, when you are trying to get to 270 those are nice big building blocks, 20, 16 and 10. That was four years ago. Here is where we are now, let me turn this off for you and come up here. This is where we are now -- one, Wisconsin, Biden, two, Michigan, Biden, Pennsylvania, again, within minutes, keep your eye on this map. It's likely to flip.

Why is that important? You come over here. This is how Joe Biden is winning overwhelmingly. He has more votes right now than any candidate to ever run for president in the United States of America. That's a great moral victory and it's a statement for the Democrats, but that's not how we pick presidents. We pick presidents state by state. You need to get to 270 electoral votes. Joe Biden at 253.

I just want to make this point, because, again, he is leading here and he is leading here. That gets him to the finish line if he holds those leads. This would be a statement. Why would it be a statement? The point you just made -- President Trump carried all three of these four years ago. Joe Biden said at the beginning of the campaign there was a great deal of skepticism among younger, more progressive Democrats. He said he was the guy who could turn these states back. It looks like he is on the path to do that. Again, the president is going to challenge when we see that happen.

And then this would be an additional statement if Joe Biden can hold this, the sunbelt states. Not since Bill Clinton was president of the United States has a Democrat carried Georgia. So Joe Biden has the potential to get to 306. I just want to do a little other math here. There is a congressional district in Maine, conservative, rural Maine to the north. The president is leading there, it's not done yet, but we should assume or at least give the president that. The president's lead in North Carolina has held up. They are still counting votes, but it's been a steady, consistent lead in a Republican leaning state, and Alaska is counting slowly, but we expect that to come in Republican. That would get the president to 232.

If Joe Biden and, again, want to be clear, not called, not done, not done, and not done, but Joe Biden is leading, leading, leading, and any minute now we expect new votes there. So Joe Biden has the opportunity to make a statement to get above 300.

[08:10:00]

Just for a little history, you see 306 to 232, that's one scenario of how this could play out. You go back in time -- take this out -- that's exactly how we ended four years ago with the president with 306. The president got his 306 because of that, but Joe Biden may flip this. There is a congressional district here he flipped, and he could be on the verge of flipping that. Still counting votes. Fascinating day.

BLITZER: Pennsylvania still 163,000 votes out there. All eyes on Pennsylvania right now. We're expecting a new vote count from Philadelphia momentarily that could put Joe Biden closer and closer to the presidency. Our special coverage continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to our special coverage. Take a look at Pennsylvania right now, very close. Trump still maintains a lead of about 18,000 votes, 49.5 percent to 49.2 percent. But any minute now we're waiting for a big batch of votes to be coming in from Philadelphia. John King, there's, what, about 50,000 votes outstanding in Philadelphia, mail-in ballots that could overwhelmingly go to Biden that could flip the state.

KING: Yes, and so let's get out to the total right now. You see the president with an 18,049 vote lead. Sorry, I was playing a little bit to go back through time just to watch his change in the state while we were in the break. And you see right now 18,049. I just want to go back in time to show people. Let's just go back and show, if you went away for a day or two, let me come back to the beginning here in Pennsylvania, I will load it up for you.

This is where we were, and so this is why Republicans are saying, what's happening in Pennsylvania?

[08:15:01]

Well, what's happening in Pennsylvania is they're counting votes. Election Day, you see all this red. Republicans turned out on Election Day and as they counted the votes, you look at the president, he pulls up a big lead there -- 548,000. And we come through, it's 589,000, this is Wednesday morning at 10:00.

So, Election Day is Tuesday. They're still counting votes. We wake up Wednesday and there we go.

The president's lead starts to fall Wednesday afternoon, and you see by Wednesday night, it's down to 182,000, and you see here 146,000 if you go into Thursday, and you come later on Thursday, it's down to 108. Down to 73 by last night, 6:30 or so, you see they keep counting votes, 63,000 votes.

You're down to 22,000 votes there, and then you come out live and that's where we are now.

There's another way to look at this, Wolf, if we can do it one more time. I will do this with a different function here. Watch the color of these counties. I will go back to the beginning here, OK? Just watch. Let me explain this first.

Keep red means you're winning, solid Republican. These counties it's swinging, more light, more even, blue the Democrats are winning, you see here, the swing. Just watch this play out over time.

Again, this is how they counted the vote, there is nothing nefarious here. They counted the Election Day vote first, the president got well ahead. Then they counted mail-in ballots, disproportionately Democratic, because that's how Democrats decided to vote in this COVID pandemic.

Just watch as this plays out, especially attention over here, at this part of the state. As you see the count come in you see these counties, the red, that means the president is building votes, statewide a 589,000 lead. Then you come through, you see here again, a little bit more red, these are Philadelphia suburbs.

This is Philadelphia, just north of it, still some red. Out here Redding and Allentown, they're red. That means the president is carrying them. You see more red up here. More white here, that means it's pretty even and in dispute.

Now we are at Wednesday, 11:00, 182,000 statewide lead for the president of the United States. They keep counting mail-in ballots, the state is pretty steady here. Now, watch as we get later into the count.

This one leans from -- goes from red back to in play, switches to blue, this is Thursday night, last night, 6:30 p.m., the lead down to 73,000 and change. Then you come in here and you watch this play out. They're counting the mail-in votes, they're disproportionately Democratic.

So, then you start to see the swing, follow it through to the finish line, you get to where we are now, 18,049 votes in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Just think about that, put it into perspective, shy of 20,000 votes, 3.2 million, 3.2 million, nearly -- approaching 3.3 million for each candidate.

So, what are we waiting for now? Let me turn this function off, come back to the live votes. We are waiting for the votes, some more in suburban county, suburban Montgomery County, they're up to 95 percent, but the decisive votes likely to come right here, city of Philadelphia, 12 percent of the votes statewide, the first building block of any Democratic win statewide in Pennsylvania, you have to run it up here, Joe Biden is doing that, 526,000 votes, that's the key number, Wolf, 92 percent.

We still have -- we expect some 50,000 ballots to come in from Philadelphia. We are told some of them could come any minute. That could be the decisive vote there, but it's not the only vote that's still out.

Again, there's been a methodical decline in the president's lead as they count these mail-in ballots. In Philadelphia, in the suburbs, I showed you how Lehigh County changes, this is Allentown, blue collar territory in eastern Pennsylvania. It was red to start the day yesterday, it is blue now because they're counting the ballot, still a few more there.

And then southeast Pennsylvania is the anchor of any Democratic win in a competitive race statewide in Pennsylvania, but then the Democrats you can pad it by doing this, this was red late last night, late in the evening last night, this went from red to blue as they count the mail-in ballots, still a few left in Erie County, 40, 50 percent, if you round up to 49 percent. If Joe Biden needs a cushion there are still 36,000 ballots or so to be counted in the Pittsburgh area, Allegheny County.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yeah, 163,000 in the entire state and we will start getting those numbers very soon.

At any moment, we're expecting a new vote count from Philadelphia that could change everything for Joe Biden in Pennsylvania and potentially in the race for the White House.

Our special coverage continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:22:59]

BLITZER: We are about to get new numbers from Pennsylvania. Right now, President Trump maintains his 18,000 vote over Joe Biden, 49.5 percent to 49.2 percent. But that could change fairly quickly.

Kate Bolduan is in Philadelphia for us getting new information.

We know there are about, Kate, 50,000 outstanding votes in Philadelphia where you are. What are we anticipating?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Wolf, so the outstanding number is 50,000 votes to be counted. We just got an update from a source that in about 10 to 15 minutes, they will be posting their next update and it will be north of 20,000 votes counted. So that will cut significantly into the number of outstanding mail-in ballots to be counted here in Philadelphia.

As we know, that has been a big question of when was Philadelphia going to wrap up, when were they going to get it done. I've been told by sources it has been a full-court press to move -- move through these ballots, get them through the process and get the information uploaded to their website, but the focus all throughout is not to rush. They stress to me over and over. It is to get it right and by right I mean they mean accurate.

But that is where they are, they've been working throughout the night. It's been fluid this morning in terms of when the next updates would come, but you can only work as fast as you can get the ballots and everyone involved in that process is going to move and to do it appropriately, accurately, securely all throughout. But that is the latest update.

We should be learning a significant update, 10 to 15 minutes, something north of 20,000 votes counted here in Philadelphia.

BLITZER: And I assume we will get the remaining 30,000 in Philadelphia, Kate, in the hours that follow later today, right?

BOLDUAN: It would not surprise me. Look, we have 50,000 outstanding, when we woke up or just didn't fall asleep overnight and it would not surprise me at all if they finished it up today.

[08:20:02] BLITZER: Yeah, all right. We will watch it closely, Kate. Thank you very much.

Ten to 15 minutes could get John King another 20,000 votes.

Right now, Trump is ahead by about 18,000 votes.

KING: Yeah, talking about statewide so you can see that, he is ahead by 18,049, if you get 20,000 votes, Joe Biden has been winning over 80 percent of the votes when we get them, so if it's 80/20, the President Trump would still be in the lead when you count 20,000 votes, but just barely.

So the question is how far north? Kate says north of 20,000 votes, is it 25,000 votes, is it 30,000 votes, if it's 30,000, somewhere in that ballpark and they come in as they were yesterday, 80 percent plus for Joe Biden -- just that vote count alone could change the map. We will see. Let's count them when they come in.

But just to put it -- you know, just to remember, 18,000 vote lead, 18,000 and change and you have as you noted in your conversation with Kate, 50,000 still to come. If we get 20,000 plus the lead is in peril, number two, it will tell us are we continuing the pattern. That's what we're looking for.

If you are President Trump, you've been watching in the last 12, 15 hours this snowball coming down a hill with Joe Biden getting 80 percent when they bring in these votes, 80 percent when they bring in more votes, sometimes 85 percent when more of these vote ballots are counted from county to county across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

So, if you are in the Trump campaign you need to stop that snowball, just simple gravity now it's coming down faster. So, is there any indication Donald Trump will get that kind of luck or that kind of change and momentum out of Philadelphia? I'm skeptical, but let's watch the votes when they come in.

So what happens then as they count those votes there is if that flips, 20,000 votes wouldn't be enough to do it most likely, unless Joe Biden wins them all, but as you go through the count more to come from Allegheny, a few more to come from Erie, more to come from the suburbs around here. There is this inevitability to this, unless we see some evidence that somehow in the mail ballots being counted, all of a sudden, Republicans start to do better.

But again, for anyone who hasn't watched from the beginning, you see all this sea of red, yes, the president turned out his votes, those are more votes -- 3.2 million, almost 3.3, more votes than the president received in Pennsylvania four years ago.

But the Democrats are coming out, too. And that's why Joe Biden is charging. They counted the election votes first, that's all that red, Republican votes. They're counting the mail-in ballots now, Democrats voted disproportionately by mail.

There's nothing nefarious happening now. They're counting votes in a democracy in the sequence in which this state decided to count them.

This, I want to say this one more time, Wolf, because there's so much being said by the himself and by the president's supporters that this is somehow wrong. It is not wrong. The state of Ohio did it the opposite way. They counted the mail-in ballots first. If you were with us on election night, we were here saying, wow, Joe Biden is in play in Ohio, a traditionally Republican state and this was blue for a long time because they counted the mail-in ballots first and they were disproportionately Democratic.

Then they counted the Election Day vote, the president ran up and has an impressive win in the state of Ohio. This played out, the Democrats are not screaming fraud, they watched people count the votes, they just counted them in reverse order, the mail-in ballots first, Joe Biden pulled ahead, the election day votes the president passed him. Good for the president in Ohio.

They are just doing it here in reverse order. That was the state's decision. Each state in the United States of America decided how to administer its election. They thought in this state they would be overwhelmed with high turnout on Election Day, that wanted to count those votes first. They're counting them now, that's what's happening, we call it math and Joe Biden inevitably is about to pass that.

Will it come from the next installment of votes? We will see. How north of 20,000 is Philadelphia when we get those votes in minute? And even if it doesn't get you all the way there, the question is, does the Biden momentum continue or is there any evidence the president is stopping it? Mark me down as skeptical that evidence would come out of Philadelphia.

BLITZER: You and I spoke to Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania yesterday. There's still 163,000 votes outstanding in the entire state of Pennsylvania, 50,000 in Philadelphia itself, but he was suggesting that given the fact that these are mail-in ballots and the president -- and Biden does really well, maybe 70 percent, 80 percent, he thought in the end, when all the vote in Pennsylvania was counted, Biden might have the lead maybe as much as 100,000 votes over Trump.

I think it's probably more realistic to think maybe 50,000 or 60,000. But what do you think?

KING: We should know more by the end of the day, but Senator Casey has that view. I did some math in a conservative count, how it was trending for Biden, I got up to 50,000 vote margin. But again, we'll watch them come in.

But here, just if you are trying to think at home, you know, what is the probability of Joe Biden not only passing that but then keeping t again, 160,000 votes and change still out. If Joe Biden gets 55 percent, 56 percent, he would pass, he would have the lead at the end of the day. 55 percent or 56 percent he would have the lead at the end of the day when they are all counted.

Well, if you were with us yesterday you understand this, in these mail-in ballots he is consistently getting 79 percent, 80 percent, in some of these counties higher than 80 percent, he only needs 56. So, that's the key.

Watch the trend line. If Joe Biden continues to get high 60s or 70s or even in Philadelphia he's been getting over 80 percent of the vote as they count these mail-in ballots, then that means the snowball is.