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 » Behind the Scenes with CNN  |  Campus Vibe

Election Night Blog

Editor's Note: Follow Election Day behind the scenes at CNN, in CNN's control room and with CNN correspondents across the country and around the world. All times are Eastern Standard.

Bush camp convinced of victory

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White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card speaks early on Wednesday morning of his certainty of President Bush's eventual victory.
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CNN's Bill Schneider says three major issues were key for voters at the polls today.

Early reports show a record turnout at the polls today in Cleveland, Ohio.

The "Crossfire" gang discuss Democratic candidate troubles this election.
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Posted: 6:25 a.m.
From Dana Bash, CNN White House Correspondent

President Bush's chief of staff Andy Card gave an address to Bush supporters at the Ronald Reagan Building:

"This all adds up to a convincing Electoral College victory as well as a strong endorsement for President Bush by his fellow Americans in the popular vote," Card said. "President Bush decided to give Sen. Kerry the respect of more time to reflect on the results of this election. The President will be making a statement later today."

The Bush camp is saying he will wait for Sen. Kerry out of respect for him. But they are obviously saying that they believe that this is a victory.

Germany seeks better U.S. ties

Posted: 6:10 a.m.
From Chris Burns, CNN Berlin Correspondent, in Berlin, Germany

No matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, Germany will pursue close relations with the United States despite strains over Iraq; though don't expect Berlin to send any troops to the conflict, German Interior Minister Otto Schily said Wednesday morning.

The presence of Schily and other German politicians in the audience at a panel discussion hosted by U.S. Ambassador Daniel Coats as election results rolled in was a strong indication the German political community sought to patch up ties with Washington, regardless of who takes the White House.

Speaking to reporters, Schily noted that even if Sen. John Kerry won, he would face "difficulty" in dealing with a Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Asked about Defense Minister Peter Struck's recent comment that Germany could eventually become "involved" in Iraq, Schily noted that Struck also said it depended on "what we can afford." Schily reiterated his government's position that Germany is training Iraqi forces and could help relieve U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the Balkans, where German troops are already stationed, to allow U.S. forces to better concentrate on stabilizing Iraq.

Ambassador Coats declined to confirm to CNN, reports he was in the running to succeed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He denied he was actively campaigning for it, but said he would "seriously consider" a Bush request for him to serve in the next Cabinet.

Crunching numbers

Posted: 4:58 a.m.
From John King, CNN Senior White House Correspondent

President Bush has popped in a couple times into Karl Rove's office to see where things stand. Two senior aides say if New Mexico is called, Bush will claim Ohio and declare victory. If New Mexico is not called, they obviously have to recalibrate. But they still plan, as of now, to have Bush go over to Ronald Reagan Building.

Down to the last chad?

Posted: 3:31 a.m.
From Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Legal Analyst

On the Ohio provisional ballots, the issue is, first, how many provisional ballots there are; how many are valid; how many are for Bush and how many are for Kerry. And how will they count them. There is some history there [for counting the provisional ballots]. The open question is: Will they also ask for a recount of all the ballots? Since most were punch cards, we could be looking at chads again.

South Africans want their voices heard

Posted: 3:25 a.m.
From Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN Johannesburg Bureau Chief/Correspondent, in Johannesburg, South Africa

South African television and radio blanketed the country with updates on the U.S. elections Wednesday morning, leading most of the morning shows, as they have for the past few days.

The Star newspaper Tuesday wrote an editorial about Bush's "cowboy unilateralism," which resonates all over Africa -- where many small states believe that multilateralism (i.e. the United Nations) is their best hope for having their voices heard. This harkens back to the United States bypassing the United Nations in going to war in Iraq -- which the paper called "a rash invasion ... in defiance of world opinion."

Keeping the legal options open

Posted: 3:07 a.m.
From Deborah Feyerick, CNN Correspondent in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

I think one of the most interesting things [about this election], in terms of reaching out to people in both campaigns and on both sides, was that there were all these rumors early on in the morning. Matt Drudge came out with a report saying that a couple of polling machines in Philadelphia had effectively been tampered with, and that sent everybody scrambling. That's sort how the morning began -- everybody chasing down this Drudge Report as to whether in fact there was any merit to the claim.

And even the district attorney for Philadelphia got involved and came over to one of the precincts in question and ruled out that there was an over vote. Even late in the day, as you spoke to a number of people -- on the Republican side and within Bush-Cheney campaign -- even though it had been shot down pretty early in the morning, they were sort of still keeping that going. So there seems to be a general mood that people were keeping their legal options open.

China, a force to be reckoned with

Posted: 2:56 p.m.
From Stan Grant, CNN Correspondent in Hong Kong, China

The word for the next U.S. administration is China. With the focus so much on Iraq and the Middle East, the world's most populous nation has slipped under the radar. But remember pre-9/11, it was the foreign policy issue for the United States. In the years since, China's economy has continued to boom. It has re-emerged as a strategic player in the region. China is crucial to any resolution of the North Korea nuclear crisis.

Then, there is Taiwan. If Taiwan crosses the line and pushes for independence, Beijing has pledged to use force. The United States has pledged to defend Taiwan. Analysts I have spoken to in the region say to expect a significant escalation in this dispute in 2005.

China already wields enormous economic clout and has crossed swords with the United States, particularly over currency strategy. It is a force that cannot easily be dismissed; some have talked about China becoming a rival superpower in the next decade. As one Asia watcher put it to me the other day, "China is the story of our age."

Cubans watch elections unfold on state TV

Posted: 2:50 a.m.
From Lucia Newman, CNN Havana Bureau Chief, in Havana, Cuba

Across the Florida Straits in communist Cuba, government loyalists blasted the U.S. electoral system on state run TV's daily "Round Table Information" show, describing the Electoral College as a "Frankenstein."

They told viewers that the U.S. elections were riddled with irregularities and fraudulent practices. The panelists echoed the official government line that whoever wins will probably maintain "the same aggressive policy towards the revolution."

On the street, however, many Cubans said they saw Sen. John Kerry as the lesser of the two evils, because they felt that while he might be tough on Fidel Castro, he would ease restrictions on remittances and travel by Cuban Americans who want to visit their relatives on the island.

Most people here are totally confused by the U.S. electoral system, although as one government opponent put it, "at least the Americans have a choice." This in reference to Cuba's one-party state.

Watching with curiosity and concern in Beijing

Posted: 2:32 a.m.
From Jaime FlorCruz, CNN Beijing Bureau Chief, in Beijing, China

Is America a friend or a foe? That's what some Chinese are wondering as they watch the U.S. presidential election.

The Chinese are still not able to directly elect their top leaders so they watch the elections with keen curiosity and a bit of concern.

Those who have access to the Internet get a bit more, but residents in mainland China are informed of the U.S. elections through the local print and TV media. They are aware that Bush and Kerry are the presidential candidates, but have no idea who Ralph Nader is. They're fascinated with the procedure, especially the debates. But they're more interested in the process -- "the horse races," as some call it, than in the issues. They talk about polling numbers and speculate on who could win.

Business as usual in Lagos

Posted: 2:15 a.m.
From Jeff Koinange, CNN Lagos Bureau Chief in Lagos, Nigeria

Electoral College? Popular vote? What's the difference? That's the question most people I've been speaking to find hard to understand here. "How can a candidate win the popular vote and lose the election? That just never happens in Africa," says Bola Akinrele, an attorney. In African elections, it's winner-take-all.

Nevertheless, most Nigerians I spoke to unanimously want Sen. John Kerry to win the U.S. presidential election. "Bush just leaves a bad taste in peoples' mouths," says Ayo Fasinro, a law professor.

In Africa's third largest nation, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the feeling is Republicans have been more favorable, at least to the Congolese. "We want Bush to win," says businessman Molegwa Zihindula.

In Lagos, it's business as usual. Traffic is snarled, honks are blaring, vendors are out selling their wares and 130 million people await a result thousands of miles away. They know they can't do anything about it -- only watch and wait. "Talk about on the outside looking in," says businessman Bimbo Adenugba.

The I-4 key

Posted: 1:18 a.m.
From David Mattingly, CNN Correspondent, in Tallahassee, Florida

About 11:45 Tuesday night, I called Bush Florida headquarters and it was almost impossible to hold a conversation with anybody because of all of the cheering and celebratory shouting that was going on in the background.

They were specifically pointing to a surprising showing that the president made in the I-4 corridor. The Bush campaign people tonight said the president exceeded their expectation in this area. This area was a relatively unknown variable going into polling tonight because of all the new voters that are in the area -- a lot of newcomers, a lot of new Hispanic voters -- and it's sort of untested territory for both of these campaigns.

The Democrats agreed: The president's performance there was too strong for John Kerry's strong numbers in south Florida to match up.

Tokyo expatriates watching and waiting

Posted: 1:11 a.m.
From Atika Shubert, CNN Correspondent, in Tokyo, Japan

Republicans Abroad in Japan gathered at the Hobgoblin, a Tokyo watering hole, to watch the results displayed on flatscreen TVs. Some viewers came equipped with laptop computers to track the vote count in specific states. Democrats Abroad in Japan gathered at private homes to monitor the results.

Both organizations said they had record numbers of Americans in Japan registering to vote in the 2004 elections. The Tokyo American Club tuned their television sets to CNN's live election coverage, attracting a bipartisan crowd of members. As the counting dragged on, however, viewers grew increasingly anxious.

"It's a real nailbiter. I can't sit still to watch!" one expatriate said as she left the club.

Oregon contrasts

Posted: 1:04 a.m.
From Jennifer Pifer, General News Correspondent, in Portland, Oregon

I'm staying at the hotel where the Republicans are and it was an interesting little scene. A group of protestors were standing outside of the hotel -- anti-war protestors -- and they were screaming and yelling, maybe a dozen people, chanting, drums, all this other stuff. The police were called in to keep them back.

Nothing happened, but it was like two groups of caged animals. You had all the Republicans inside, and then the anti-war protestors outside beating the drums, yelling for peace. Oregon has been the scene of some of the major anti-war movement stuff since before the war started.

A passion for voting

Posted: 12:50 a.m.
From Gary Tuchman, CNN National Correspondent, in West Palm Beach, Florida

Floridians had the same kind of passion about voting [in this election] as they do about college football. They knew they played a huge role in picking a president in 2000. It was clear they felt obliged to do it again in 2004. Watching them in huge lines on election day and on early voting days in the heat and heavy rains was quite extraordinary.

Carlson: Exit polls wrong

Posted: 12:47 a.m.
From Tucker Carlson, CNN's "Crossfire"

I think the exit polls are insanely inaccurate. They are a joke. They are historically sucky. [Some of them] foretold a trend that did not exist. A series of polls should show a pattern.

Reasons behind Florida

Posted: 12:41 a.m.
From James Polk, CNN Investigative Unit

The bromide that a huge surge in turnout is an anti-incumbent revolt turned out exactly the opposite in Florida.

Bush benefited far more than Kerry by the big jump in voters. Example: the number of voters in the Democratic bastion of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) was up almost 100,000 in 2004 over 2000. But Bush got 57,000-plus of those extra voters; Kerry gained 51,000.

In Republican-leaning areas such as Jacksonville, the Bush gain was even more significant.

All eyes on Ohio

Posted: 12:36 a.m.
From Dan Lothian, CNN Boston Bureau Chief, in Columbus, Ohio

Even at this hour, people in Knox County are still voting. At Kenyon College some people stood in line for up to seven hours.

The big surprise here is that with so much talk about challengers, lawsuits, potential fraud and provisional ballot problems, nothing major materialized.

One interesting point: If the tally here is less than 0.25 percent, then there will be an automatic recount. If there is a tie after the recount, then there will be a coin toss and the secretary of state calls heads or tails.

No known unknowns

Posted: 12:31 a.m.
From Ted Rubenstein, CNN Producer, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

In a very small county, I asked a lady how many provisional ballots that they'd printed up. She said "None."

I said, "Really?"

She said that this is a small county and everybody knows everybody here. It would be impossible to register to vote and have somebody not know it.

Changing moods for Bush

Posted: 12:17 a.m.
From Dana Bash, CNN White House Correspondent

Here at Bush-Cheney headquarters I've watched the mood shift pretty dramatically over the last several hours.

With Florida looking good for Bush, Pennsylvania for Kerry, they're all holding their breath now about Ohio. The spin here is they feel good, hearing good news from folks on the ground. We'll see.

Bush feeling good about Florida

Posted: 11:34 p.m.
From John King, CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Bush has spoken to [brother and Florida Gov.] Jeb [Bush] at least three times. They feel very good about Florida.

Their people on the ground tell them they will eke it out in Ohio, though some are nervous because Ohio and Pennsylvania were the top two targets of the Labor/America Coming together turnout alliance, and we see what happened in Pennsylvania.

Waiting for Kerry

Posted: 11:09 p.m.
From Mike Roselli, CNN Producer, in Boston, Massachusetts

For the past three hours, Sen. John Kerry and his family have been dining at his Louisbourg Square home in the Beacon Hill area of Boston. A small group of pool reporters and photographers had been sitting in a local cafe waiting to see what he does next -- but because it is 11 p.m. the place is closing, so the pool, with two Secret Service agents in tow, is now waiting outside.

We expect Kerry will return to the Westin Copley Plaza hotel at some point this evening.

Begala: Florida slips and falls

Posted: 10:42 p.m.
From Paul Begala, CNN's "Crossfire"

How on God's Earth do we not have absentee ballots counted in Florida? Jeb Bush and Glenda Hood -- the Republican secretary of state playing the part of Katherine Harris -- are making the state look like a banana republic run by a bunch of banana Republicans.

I've been talking to Kerry campaign operatives in Ohio and Florida. The Kerry folks are pretty optimistic in Ohio; in Florida they are pretty angry that they can't get ballots counted.

Greetings from soggy Oregon

Posted: 10:33 p.m.
From Jennifer Pifer, General News Correspondent, in Portland, Oregon

Perfect voting weather from the City of Roses -- wet and cold! Oregon's Secretary of State says the state could see record turnout, as high as 86 or 87 percent. The streets around the Multnomah County Board of Elections have taken on a festive feel: On one corner there was a calypso band.

Polls close at 11 p.m. ET.

Florida coping with absentee ballots

Posted: 10:08 p.m.
From Wires.CNN

Florida voters cast an "incredible number" of absentee ballots in Tuesday's presidential election, and counting them may take until Thursday, Secretary of State Glenda Hood said Tuesday night.

Hood said only about 30,000 of the 94,000 absentee ballots received in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County had been counted, and officials were pulling in "extra staff" to complete the count by the noon Thursday deadline by which counties must complete the unofficial canvass of all votes.

Broward County, north of Miami and also heavily Democratic, had 92,000 absentee ballots requested, Hood said, but the count of the ballots that were returned may be completed overnight.

Palm Beach County began counting its absentee ballots Friday. In that county, 70,000 absentee ballots were received, Hood said.

Carlson: Give Florida away

Posted: 10:02 p.m.
From Tucker Carlson, CNN's "Crossfire"

I'm unimpressed with Florida's ability to count its absentee ballots. The state had four years to prepare and couldn't count the ballots before Thursday. I think we should give Florida to Puerto Rico.

Notable's death takes precedence in Arab media

Posted: 9:20 p.m.
From Caroline Faraj, CNNArabic.com Editor

The death of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan few hours after the beginning of the voting in the U.S. caused the interruption of the Arab networks' coverage of the elections.

Some of them stopped the transmission of the programs and put on, instead, Koran, and some focused on the history of Zayed for a few hours before going back to the U.S. event.

Toobin: Voters 1, Lawyers (practically) 0

Posted: 8:54 p.m.
From Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Legal Analyst

So far, the big story is the dog that didn't bark, the lawyers who didn't bite, the litigation that hasn't taken place. We thought the presence of so many lawyers would lead to so many lawsuits. We're not seeing zero lawsuits, but the activity so far seems manageable -- even in Ohio.

However, we're still looking at two things: how many states are close and whether they matter in terms of the Electoral College outcome.

Ohio civility

Posted: 8:48 p.m.
From Adaora Udoji, General News Correspondent, in Canton, Ohio

We talk a lot about how divided [Ohio] is, [but at] the polling stations we went to it was incredibly civilized. In fact, there were a lot of families in there, people bringing their kids, and what you saw is them sort of explaining it as they're going through.

There was one woman there who was voting for the first time and she had her 7-year-old daughter with her, and she was 42 and had never voted -- in any election. She went up to one of the poll workers and she said "Look, I'm not really sure how to do this," so the poll worker took her over to one of the sample ballots and explained it all to her.

And the daughter said, "No, Mom, this is how you do this."

Carlson: Please end

Posted: 8:37 p.m.
From Tucker Carlson, CNN's "Crossfire"

I hope it ends early, I want to go to dinner.

The Japanese divide

Posted: 8:30 p.m.
From Atika Shubert, CNN Correspondent, in Tokyo, Japan

There is a big difference here in what the country's leaders want and what the Japanese public wants.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is a staunch supporter of President Bush and has publicly stated that he wants his friend to win. Media polls show more than 50 percent of Japanese, however, would rather see Kerry in the White House.

Iraq is the lightning rod issue. Even though many Japanese believe the country should be a loyal and steadfast ally to the U.S., a majority of Japanese did not support the war in Iraq and are still not convinced that the Bush administration can bring peace to Iraq.

A child named Bush?

Posted: 8:25 p.m.
From Jane Arraf, CNN Baghdad Bureau Chief/Correspondent

Two different views in Baghdad:

In the "Green Zone," hundreds of Bush administration appointees, whose careers are riding on the results, will be glued to their televisions. We're not welcome at what promise to be some raucous election night parties, though; for "security reasons," they've banned coverage.

Out in the streets of Baghdad, it's a bit different. In Mansour Monday -- where middle-class shoppers come to buy Turkish and Syrian clothing -- we couldn't find a single Iraqi with a good word to say about Pres. George W. Bush.

Gratitude to the United States for getting rid of Saddam Hussein has not entirely evaporated, though. In a Kurdish area of Kirkuk, one woman told us she was seriously thinking of naming her baby after George Bush.

Wagering in Russia

Posted: 8:13 p.m.
From Ryan Chilcote, CNN Video Correspondent, in Moscow, Russia

CNN cameraman Alex Belov and I headed to the Moscow News Pub Tuesday for another perspective on the election.

As a young woman named Lena -- who described herself as Russia's only cigar sommelier -- led us through the smoky bar, she encouraged us to place a bet in favor of one of the U.S. presidential candidates. Participants at the bar were encouraged to do the same.

Belov and I waited for a half hour for someone to place a bet, but no one did. The bookies who had arranged the political betting weren't surprised. This is the first time they say Russia has had betting like this.

A co-sponsor of the event at News Pub, the Rambler Media Group, had already held on-line voting, though. According to their Internet primary -- in which Russian-language speakers took part from around the world -- Kerry won everywhere among Russian speakers in the poll, except in the U.S., Israel, and the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Florida delays

Posted: 7:51 p.m.
From Wires.CNN

Some 50,000 or more absentee ballots that could make a difference in who wins a close election in Florida will not be counted until Thursday, election officials there say.

Election workers in Miami-Dade County apparently have been overwhelmed by the task of counting from 80,000 to 95,000 absentee ballots. The Miami-Dade County elections supervisor, Constance Kaplan, could promise Tuesday evening only that the ballots will be counted by noon Thursday.

That's the deadline for all votes cast in the election to be counted, according to Alia Faraj, spokeswoman for Florida secretary of state. The deadline for counting overseas ballots is November 12.

Taking care of officials

Posted: 7:38 p.m.
From Marsha Walton, CNN Producer, in Santa Fe, New Mexico

There could not have been a more inviting secretary of state's office to monitor this election day. The smells of garlic, green chiles, chili con queso, and chicken and rice wafted through the entire floor where the secretary of state's staff works in New Mexico. Crockpots were plugged in next to computers as staff members answered questions about polling locations, turnout, and provisional ballots.

Because the state is using voting machines it has used in past elections there were few major glitches involving hardware. Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron predicts a 75 percent turnout of eligible voters.

Polls in Wisconsin

Posted: 7:33 p.m.
From Katherine Wojtecki, CNN Producer, in Madison, Wisconsin

After polls opened late this morning a lawsuit was filed to request polls stay open late in Cadahay County, Wisconsin. This has been denied. Polls will close at 9 p.m. ET.

However if you are in line, no matter how long it is, you will get to vote.

Wedeman: 'Fascination and dread' from Arab world

Posted: 7:25 p.m.
From Ben Wedeman, CNN Cairo Bureau Chief, in Cairo, Egypt

The Arab world follows U.S. presidential politics with a mixture of fascination and dread.

Fascination because the spectacle of freewheeling presidential campaigns in which insults and accusations are exchanged so freely never happen in the Arab world. Almost no Arab head of state came to power democratically, and there is a palpable hunger for democracy.

Dread, because the perception here is that the Arab world -- its grievances and hopes -- gets short shrift in American politics.

But the last four years have forced a major change in thinking. Several recent opinion polls conducted in the Middle East have found that a majority of Arabs -- more than 90 percent here in Egypt -- now have a negative impression of the United States. It was driven home to me -- not for the first time -- when I went to a working-class neighborhood in Cairo.

"We don't care about the elections!" an angry man shouted at me. "America is our enemy." As I tried -- unsuccessfully -- to engage the man in a civil discussion, a boy went up to CNN's Cairo camerawoman Mary Rogers and made the sign of a pistol in her face.

"I think it's going to be disastrous, because Bush has a genius for unleashing all the negative forces in the world," said Egyptian writer Mohamed Salmawi.

View from Asia

Posted: 7:18 p.m.
From Mike Chinoy, Senior Asia Correspondent, in Hong Kong

I spent the last few days in Vietnam and Taiwan, two places where the election is being watched with interest, but with sharply differing perspectives.

In Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), I came away with a sense that, while relations with the United States have been OK under George W. Bush, many Vietnamese believe ties would significantly improve -- that the United States would, once and for all, put the Vietnam War behind it -- if Kerry were to become president.

In Taiwan, there is considerable anxiety about the election. Many Taiwanese recognize that George W. Bush has been the most pro-Taiwan U.S. president in many years. I continue to hear concern that if John Kerry wins, he would be less supportive of Taiwan, and more willing to exert pressure on the island to accommodate Beijing.

Smooth balloting, mostly

Posted: 6:59 p.m.
From Todd Leopold, CNN.com

Reports from around the country indicate voting has gone fairly smoothly. Among the problems, most of which were minor:

  • In Volusia County, Florida, poll workers began feeding ballots back through counters after 13,000 votes were lost Monday when a voting machine's memory card failed. The election supervisor was determined to get things right: "We want to do this in front of God and everybody," she said.
  • In Iowa, Moveon.org members were accused of electioneering within the 300-foot limit imposed by law.
  • In Dallas, Texas, a federal elections observer was assaulted by a local elections official, who was removed from the polling place, law enforcement authorities said.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police launched an investigation after 20 vans the GOP had rented for its get-out-the-vote efforts had their tires slashed early Tuesday.
  • Cubans holding their breath

    Posted: 6:44 p.m.
    From Lucia Newman, CNN Havana Bureau Chief/Correspondent, in Havana, Cuba

    Cubans feel strongly that the outcome of this election will make a big difference to their daily lives.

    Under President George W. Bush, already chilly U.S.-Cuban relations have sunk. "We will not rest, we will keep the pressure on," said Bush this Sunday.

    Most Cubans on the Communist island, however, feel that it will be them rather than Fidel Castro who will feel the pain. "The problem is that the more Bush tightens the screws on Castro, the more Castro tightens the screws on us," says Arial Rameriz, a Cuban worker who reflects a commonly held belief.

    While most people don't know much about John Kerry, they assume that if he wins, he will revert to the "old" policy -- favored by former President Bill Clinton -- of allowing families and friends to maintain close contact while pushing for political change on the island.

    Turkey: Mixed feelings

    Posted: 6:36 p.m.
    From Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN Video Correspondent, in Istanbul, Turkey

    If you ask any so-called "everyday Turk" whether George W. Bush ought to be re-elected, you'll hear three things:

  • They blame the Bush administration for not doing more to protect Turkish nationals in Iraq. Images shown on local TV have not done the Bush administration any favors.
  • They perceive U.S. foreign policy as more favorable to Israel than to Palestinians. Anti-Israeli/American protests are a regular occurrence in Istanbul's conservative neighborhoods and popular areas.
  • But:

  • They thank President Bush for supporting Turkey's bid to join the European Union. Turks expect EU membership to bring economic, political and social freedoms they've never known. Anybody who helps Turkey achieve this goal gets respect.
  • Begala: In praise of 'smash-mouth attack politics'

    Posted: 6:18 p.m.
    From Paul Begala, CNN's "Crossfire"

    Reports from all across the country suggest a near-record turnout today.

    Let's hope so. There's so much at stake. We don't know who's going to win -- although I strongly believe a high turnout benefits the challenger. (As one Kerry aide told me today, "People don't stand in line for 45 minutes to vote for more of the same.")

    But even before we know the winner, we know this: negative campaigning works. Voters love smash-mouth attack politics. And all the weenies, wimps and wussies who say negative campaigning depresses turnout are wrong.

    Americans are tough, and we expect our politicians to be tough. Say what you will about Bush and Kerry, but you must admit they're tough guys who ran tough campaigns. And the voters are rewarding their negativity by turning out in droves. The elite hand-wringers can kiss my voter registration card.

    Italian angles

    Posted: 6:12 p.m.
    From Alessio Vinci, CNN Rome Bureau Chief/Correspondent, in Rome, Italy

    Here in Italy the U.S. presidential election is being followed as never before, and perhaps for the first time politicians on both sides of the political spectrum are taking sides.

    It's no secret Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, one of President Bush's closest allies in Europe, would like to see the incumbent win another four years. Berlusconi said it clearly (no Italian Prime Minister has ever before taken sides in a US presidential election) although he clarified his position moments later saying Rome could work just as well with Kerry at the White House.

    All this is to say Italy will always do whatever it rakes to keep close relationship with the U.S. But a defeat by President Bush could deliver a personal blow to Prime Minister Berlusconi, who has shown relentless support for the U.S. president, and likes to call him a friend.

    A catharsis, ending

    Posted: 6:07 p.m.
    From Todd Leopold, CNN.com

    For weeks, the Web site http://www.slapthecandidate.com/external link has paralleled the shifting fortunes of the candidates: Sometimes Bush would lead in slaps, sometimes Kerry. As of 6 p.m., with more than 10 million slaps recorded for each, it's practically neck and neck.

    Looking for some catharsis? The site closes down at midnight. Now's your last chance to take out your frustrations on the candidates.

    UK topsy-turvy

    Posted: 6:03 p.m.
    From Caroline Paterson, CNN Producer, in London, England

    Many in Tony Blair's Labour Party find it hard to stomach that he is in so close with a Republican president when Labour traditionally allies with the Democrats. But the old political associations have broken down.

    Conservative leader Michael Howard has fallen out with the Bush White House. Many British Conservatives, traditionally linked with the Republicans, are rooting for Kerry. The Spectator/Yougov poll reveals that only 15 percent of Conservative supporters would be delighted or happy to see Bush win while 39 percent would be delighted or happy about a Kerry victory.

    Carlson: We'll know early

    Posted: 5:58 p.m.
    From Tucker Carlson, CNN's "Crossfire"

    We're going to know [the results] early, by 10:31 p.m.

    If Bush loses, the turning point [will] have been the invasion of Iraq. If Bush wins it will be Kerry's inadequacies, that he (Kerry) really doesn't understand the war on terror.

    Report from Berlin

    Posted: 5:46 p.m.
    From Chris Burns, CNN Berlin Correspondent, in Berlin, Germany

    Along with more than 100,000 civilian Americans in Germany, there are 70,000 U.S. military personnel and their voting-age dependents, traditionally Republican voters.

    Voting assistance officers have been assigned to each unit ... urging troops to register. With minders watching what troops can tell journalists on-base, it's difficult to gauge [their decisions]. Many say they will vote for their commander in chief as the man who will best fight terror. But some in a bar in Wiesbaden last month said they do plan to vote for Kerry, saying President Bush's invasion of Iraq was a disaster.

    Madrid festivities

    Posted: 5:36 p.m.
    From Al Goodman, CNN Madrid Bureau Chief, in Madrid, Spain

    On election night, the U.S. Embassy hosts a party for Republicans and Democrats at a swank downtown Madrid hotel, while across town, the Kerry campaign has rented a nightclub. Some Spaniards are expected at both events, while the rest of the nation can follow the election results on Spanish televisions and radios throughout the night.

    Harrisburg joker

    Posted: 5:31 p.m.
    From Ted Rubenstein, CNN Producer, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

    About 8 a.m. today at a construction site on 2nd Street, one of H-burg's main drags, a worker hauling a trash bin yelled at passersby: "Here's the polling place for George Bush."

    CNN's 'biggest election night ... ever'

    Posted: 5:27 p.m.
    From Sam Feist, senior executive producer, political programming, CNN

    From an interview with Feist conducted by http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/external link:

    "This is the biggest election night CNN has ever produced. We have teams of anchors and analysts at three separate primary locations in New York City: Nasdaq, our Election Analysis Center in the CNN New York Newsroom, and our "Crossfire" voter forum in the atrium of Time Warner Center. Plus we have almost 40 reporters sent to every state that could be critical to the race. ...

    "We spent a long time learning how to drive election results in the Nasdaq wall. It looks better than we ever imagined -- it's going to be a remarkable night."

    Getting out the vote

    Posted: 5:09 p.m.
    From Todd Leopold, CNN.com

    Both parties have rolled out some big names to push their sides -- at rallies and on the phone. My mother-in-law, who lives in Cleveland, Ohio, said she received recorded calls from Jesse Jackson, Chris Rock and John Kerry. (She was most thrilled about Rock.)

    On the GOP side, Rudy Giuliani has been active, and Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has been plumping for Bush as well. And an acquaintance tells me she's gotten more e-mails from her candidate's campaign manager than from her own friends ... asking for money, naturally.

    Politics in Iraq

    Posted: 5:07 p.m.
    From Karl Penhaul, Video Correspondent for CNN, reporting near Fallujah, Iraq

    One Marine, just about old enough to vote for the first time, shook his head and said to me: "Out here this is politics of the rawest kind." He was a grunt, not an officer.

    He didn't mean Republican-Democratic party politics or even Bush-Kerry personality politics. Clausewitz ("war is an extension of politics") or Chairman Mao ("political power grows out of the barrel of a gun") have written about the kind of politics this Marine was talking about. He didn't know those names maybe; he certainly hadn't read the textbook theory. He just sensed it, a world away from the fancy gloss-wrapped, shrink-wrapped vacuum-packed TV debates, party spin doctors and expert opinion polls.

    This marine, when he's ordered, will simply go out and do politics of the rawest kind ... kicking in doors, blasting away with an M-16 assault rifle.

    The outcome on the extreme edge of his political frontline isn't about Bush or Kerry. There's no vote and no recount, just life or death.

    Heavy traffic

    Posted: 5:00 p.m. ET
    From Todd Leopold, CNN.com

    It's not just polling places seeing heavy traffic today; blogs and news Web sites are also getting slammed. Among those that, at times, have come up overloaded: talkingpointsmemo.com, an article on Slate, and at least one exit poll link. (All were working last time I checked.) Servers may hit a few records this evening.


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