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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Political Analyst of Ohio, Democrat Party's Southern Vote Problem

Aired November 2, 2004 - 23:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's take a look right now at 11:00 p.m. on the East Coast. CNN can now project California and its 55 electoral votes, as expected, will go to John Kerry. A big win in California, fully expected. Those 55 electoral votes, the largest prize out there. We're ready to make another projection right now. CNN can project, for the president, in Idaho, four electoral votes. Again, once again, as expected. Idaho will go for President Bush.
Let's take a look and see where it stands right now with the Electoral College, the all-important Electoral College. The President of the United States with 197 electoral votes, John Kerry, with 188 electoral votes. 270 needed to be elected president. The blue states, Kerry, the red states, Bush. The white states, they're close, but we don't have enough information yet to project winners. There's only one state left that would be Alaska. In two hours, 1:00 a.m. on the East Coast, Alaska will close and we'll be able to project what's going on in Alaska.

I want to show our viewers also what's happening in Iraq right now. These are U.S. troops. They're watching the elections right now. They're sitting in an area in Iraq and in Fallujah, in fact, or outside Fallujah, an area that's been hotly contested. Battles have been fierce there. But these Americans, troops, and this is a live picture for our viewers. They're watching the election. They're seeing what's going on. Looks like a little cafeteria, you see the trays there where they've been eating. Our men and women, U.S. forces, serving in Iraq, and making sure that they get a sense of what's happening all the way back here in the United States. Let's bring in our analyst once again, Jeff Greenfield. California's a huge prize. If you look at the numbers now, 197-188, it's pretty close.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: California was a state that went Republican for 20 consecutive years a state. It was a state that Democrats almost couldn't win. Clinton took it away from the Republicans, Gore put it in his pocket with about 1.2 million. And it's now one of the solid foundations of any Democratic electoral majority. The fact that you mentioned Iraq, how people feel about Iraq may wind up deciding who sits in the Oval Office.

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: As Carlos just pointed out, we're going to have 120 million people vote if this holds up. You have got over 61 million with 50 percent.

BLITZER: Of the precincts. CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Last time, we had 105 million. So that would be not just a jump, but a significant jump. I want to go back to Pennsylvania, though. A couple of interesting things in that victory there. One was the fact that Nader wasn't on the ballot. And remember, he captured about 2 percent of the vote last time. The other significant thing Democrats did is added to the registration lead. Remember, going into 2000, Wolf, they had about a half million vote lead in terms of registration. They added another 100,000 additional -- net voters in terms of the lead.

KING: What's the Native American vote in South Dakota?

WATSON: Interestingly enough, that's one of the few places where it could play out. Not Hispanic or African American but the Native American vote could be decisive when Tom Daschle runs. Could add up to 5 percent, maybe 7 percent or 8 percent of that vote. Also may play out in New Mexico al little bit. So we e don't normally talk about the Native American vote. It could matter.

GREENFIELD: When Jim Thune, who is running against Tom Daschle, lost to the other Democratic Senator, Tim Johnson by approximately 500 votes, they just don't have a lot of people out there. So the Native American vote was the key. Some Republicans felt there was chicanery. One more quick point about South Dakota, there are 300,000 votes. The estimate is they are spending $80 a vote in South Dakota. It would have been cheaper for one of the candidates to load a pickup truck with $100 bills and drive around the state scattering them to undecided voters.

KING: I don't want to sound redundant. But at this point, a little over four hours since we started with this total, exact as four years ago. No states have changed.

BLITZER: Exactly, those states we projected for Kerry so far were states Gore won four years ago. Those states for Bush are states Bush won four years ago. You're absolutely right. Judy Woodruff is joining us from the CNN election analysis center. You've been looking at states, Judy, we haven't been able to project the winner on. What are you and your colleagues there seeing?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Wolf, one of the things you just noted, yes, you did call California because the polls closed in California four minutes ago. And we were able to do that because of a comfortable margin that John Kerry has in the state of California. But Oregon, which sits right next to California, just north of it, as all of us know, we've not called yet. Oregon is the one state in the country where people vote only by mail. They mail in their ballots. They were able to bring in their ballots as of today. I was told the secretary of state in Oregon is promising that 50 percent of the ballots, up to 50 percent, are going to be counted by sometime pretty shortly now. So we should know that number. What we don't know, then, is how long it's going to take them to count the rest of the ballots.

That's one thing we're keeping an eye on. Another, if you just move all the way to the other end of the country, Wolf, and Jeff, Larry and carols, we heard Joe Lockhart, speaking for the Kerry/Edwards campaign say not too long ago that the Kerry campaign is looking for a good Democratic turnout in those south Florida counties. Miami-Dade and Broward. The suggestion being that a lot of those votes are still out. But in checking with our folks here, and the analysts here, it does look like we've got over 80 percent, 85 percent of the vote already counted. 88 percent even in Broward County. So a lot of this vote is already in. And so when Joe Lockhart says a lot is outstanding, I think some of us are scratching our heads wondering where it's going to come from. There are votes still out. There are people still in line we are told. And there certainly are absentee ballots that have not been counted and I reported a few minutes ago about the dispute over when those ballots are going to get counted.

But we don't want to leave anybody with the impression that there are still hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of votes that have not been counted because that's not our sense at this point.

BLITZER: And that's the number of precincts reporting at this point. Some precincts being bigger than other precincts throughout the State of Florida. In fact, throughout the country, Judy. Anything else you want to add at this point?

WOODRUFF: Not right now. I mean, we are, as you know, Wolf, we've got a dozen or so states that we still have not called. We are being cautious. You know, you still have not just Ohio that closed at 7:30, but a number of other states, New Hampshire that we still haven't called yet. So we're watching those numbers coming in. We may be close to a call but we're not ready to call the states yet.

BLITZER: All right, Judy, thanks very much. I want to walk over and Jeff Greenfield is going to help me. These are the states we're putting on the screen right now that we have not been able to project a winner for. This is where the election is going to be determined, Jeff. But let's go through these. Come over and let's go through these one by one. Ohio has about 53 percent of the precincts reporting, 20 electoral votes. Very, very close.

GREENFIELD: It is. This is the number, actually, if i can jump ahead, that I think Judy was referring to. 92 percent of the precincts in Florida, with the president holding, the last time we checked, the popular vote in that Florida. A couple hundred thousand vote lead. If, in fact, Judy's right, that a lot of the votes in the heavily Democratic areas of Broward and Palm Beach and even Miami Dade have been counted, that's actually very good news for the president. On the other hand, his folks are looking at Ohio and knowing that there's a lot of votes left to be counted in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County, the math begins to get narrower and narrower and narrower for each of these candidates. With Pennsylvania for Kerry of the big three, it would be very damaging, maybe fatal for Bush to lose even one of those two unless, of course, he can pick up the upper Midwest states, or some other Democratic states.

BLITZER: Let's talk about that. Some of the states have been closed for hours, like New Hampshire and its four electoral votes. 60 percent of the precincts reporting. We're not yet able, we don't have enough information to project New Hampshire. People think four electoral votes is not much, but it could be a lot.

GREENFIELD: We know what we think is going to happen in some of these states. I mean, I think they're not the lost loyal Democratic think that John Kerry can take Montana or Arizona. Colorado with nine electoral votes which has defeated the proposition to divide it, those votes are sitting out there. That could be a very close state. It's a Bush state from 2000. So the mix of these states, as night goes on, the math gets more and more in a narrow corridor of who has to win what. You want to keep going on this...

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about Nevada, Washington State, Oregon and even Hawaii, a state the vice president visited on Sunday at literally the last minute with its four electoral votes. A state so many exports thought was simply automatic for the Democrats.

GREENFIELD: The general rule in Hawaii is the state goes Republican when there is a massive historic land slide. Nixon in '72, Reagan in '84. That's it. The state has come into to play for a variety of reasons. The Democratic Party, which was entrenched, had some scandals. There is a new population in Hawaii. More entrepreneurial, less pro government. That's why Dick Cheney went there at the end of the campaign. And between those four electoral votes and one electoral vote in Maine hanging out, that is entirely possible that that'll decide the election.

BLITZER: The Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington State, we don't have enough information yet to project a winner for either of these two states. The Democrats had been simply assuming it would be in their column.

GREENFIELD: These states have gone Democratic, Oregon and Washington, for the last four elections. They're two Dukakis states, where Nader threatened Al Gore but didn't force him to lose the state to George W. Bush. So the Democrats believe they have those. There are states the Republicans believe they have. And then there are those that everybody is going to be sitting and watching. Anybody planning to leave here in the next half hour or so had better change their plans.

BLITZER: I think it's fair to say, Larry King and Carlos Watson, as we walk over to join you, Larry, I hope you have no plans in the next several hours or maybe even days.

KING: I'm always so busy at 2:00, 3:00 in the morning, Wolf, it's incredible.

I'll be here and I'll do a show from here tomorrow. And head back to California tomorrow night and look at it from there and maybe come back east again because this may not be over.

BLITZER: What do you think, Carlos?

WATSON: Well, remember, some of the places have told us they may take ten days to count the provisional ballots. So we may be here for a while. The other really interesting thing in a couple of states that we don't know about yet, they have got this thing called same-day registration. You can walk up in Minnesota, you can walk up in New Hampshire and say, I'm ready to register today. That could cause it to take a little longer to count the votes.

KING: AMERICAN MORNING goes on at 7:00 a.m., that is correct?

BLITZER: That's correct.

KING: They'll be on.

GREENFIELD: 7:00 a.m. Eastern. Unless we pull an all-nighter.

KING: That would give us another almost eight hours here.

GREENFIELD: Well, in 2000, we signed off, CNN anchor analysis team signed off at 6:30 a.m.

KING: Last time?

GREENFIELD: Sure. And we didn't know who had won. And I'll tell you something. A lot of us who got burned in 2000, did one thing very smart this year. We made no expensive vacation plans at all. For weeks.

KING: The sun will be up then.

BLITZER: We'll soon find out. We're in Times Square. A lot of nice people watching us and our coverage at 43rd and Broadway. Bill Schneider, you're looking at exit polls as you always do, specifically this time, California.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: California went for Kerry as expected. But you know what? The governor is Republican, name of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed and campaigned at the last minute for George W. Bush. What do they think of Schwarzenegger in this heavily Democratic state? Well look at this. More than two-thirds of Californians say they like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 69 percent approval rating. President Bush would kill for a 69 percent approval rating. Why didn't it translate into a Bush victory? Because almost half of the people who like Governor Schwarzenegger, the Republican, voted for John Kerry. The lesson here is Schwarzenegger's appeal goes way beyond the Republican Party. That's how he got elected. He gets a lot of support from Democrats.

KING: Bill, any report on the stem cell measure which Schwarzenegger supported for the state to spend a ton of money on stem cell research?

SCHNEIDER: All the pre-election polls indicated that that measure was likely to pass. I haven't seen any results, however, since the polls closed.

BLITZER: You live most of the time, Larry, in California. I guess you're not surprised by any of this, what's happening out there.

KING: No, California - in fact, Barbara boxer, she appears -- we can't say this, but I think she might win handily as... BLITZER: That's widely expected.

WATSON: Poll are up by double digits.

KING: As Chuck Schumer will win. I don't know what happened to the -- you mentioned the Republicans, California was a stronghold. Other than Schwarzenegger, they don't have a strong Republican in that state.

GREENFIELD: California is one state where the social issues cut heavily against the Republicans. It's a state where even most of the Republicans get elected. Look at Schwarzenegger. He's pro choice on abortion, he's pro gun control, he's pro stem cell research, pro gay rights. It's one of those states, one theory is coastal states tend to be more socially liberal than heartland states. And California is a state where that plus the Republican Party turned hard on immigration, alienated the Hispanic vote after the 1994 election. It's a state that except for Arnold Schwarzenegger, they've been shut out of for the last decade.

WATSON : If you think about the Hispanic vote, when the alienation did happen in 1994 about a million new Hispanics registered. As you said, Gore beat Bush by about 1.3 million. A lot of that number was in the Hispanic vote.

BLITZER: As you point out, Larry, that embryonic stem cell research, other stem cell research was an important ballot initiative, important issue and amendment in California. We've got results coming in in California on that proposition. 71, the funding for stem cell research. Yes, 69 percent. No, 31 percent. Relatively small numbers coming in, but Arnold Schwarzenegger, as you know, and our viewers know, came out strongly in favor of stem cell research, despite the position of the president, who wants limitations on embryonic stem cell research.

KING: I believe it's $3 billion.

WATSON: It is. They've got two significant healthcare issues on the ballot this time in California. The other one, besides stem cell, the $3 billion, is one that would mandate small businesses to pay for health insurance for their workers. That could be pretty significant no matter whether Bush or Kerry wins. Could become part of a new trend. We've seen California usher in lots of things via the ballot initiative.

KING: The big issue in New York is the stadium, right?

GREENFIELD: No it's not on the ballot yet. That -- you know New York. Olympics in 2012, $600 million for a football stadium, I don't think that will swing what happens tonight. We'll fight on that one next year, Larry. Come back and we'll talk about it.

KING: I saw ads on television against it.

BLITZER: Larry and company, all of the polls and all of the states with the exception of Alaska, have now closed. But there's, what, a dozen or so we can't project winners yet. Those would be the states that will determine the next President of the United States. To our viewers, if you want more information, on specific races and states local races, governors' races, house races, Senate races, specific numbers, by counties even, the place to go is CNN.com.

You can get interactive there and find out what's happening. Even take a look at showdown states, move them round see how the projections are going to work out. Watch CNN, but you might also want to take a look at CNN.com to get some more information. It's the best place to go on the Web for this kind of information. The CNN election express bus is parked in Times Square. We're parked in Times Square as well. Much more coverage coming up when we come back.

ANNOUNCER: Prior to TVs an computers, people would take to the streets for the latest election returns. In the early is the 1900s, crowds watched as the results were projected on the sides of buildings. Then there's the zipper in New York's Times Square. It gave election results for the first time in November, 1928 and it continues to do so today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Times Square, New York City. We're continuing our live coverage. And it could be quite a while that we continue our live coverage from the heart of New York City, the NASDAQ market site. We're watching all of these states, almost the entire country, with the exception of Alaskan, polling booths have closed down. Here's where it stands right now. The popular vote for the president with 55 percent of the precincts in the United States reporting. The President has 51 percent of the vote, slightly more than 35 million votes. John Kerry has 48 percent of the votes, 33 million-plus votes. Ralph Nader with 1 percent, 252,000 or so votes for Ralph Nader.

In the race for the White House, as important as the popular vote is, and it's important, but much more important is the Electoral College vote. You need 270 to be elected president. Right now, look at how close it is. 197 for Bush. We've projected 188 for Kerry we've projected. The blue states are Kerry states. The red states are Bush states. The white states are states where the polling has closed down, but we've not yet been able to project a winner.

Alaska closes 1:00 a.m. on the East Coast so we'll still wait. Here are some of the states that we haven't been able, except for Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania we've projected a big win for John Kerry. With 73 percent of the vote in, 55 percent for Kerry, 44 for Bush. Jeff Greenfield, you're looking at the map, you're looking at what's going on and you're going to put it all in beautiful perspective for us.

GREENFIELD: Right. We don't know who the next President of the United States is yet. I'm looking at the Florida numbers. With 94 percent of the precincts in be a the president having just about a 300,000 vote lead, and remember what Judy Woodruff mentioned, some of that South Florida vote from Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county is in, I am certainly not going to step on any projections that we are not ready to make, but that looks like a pretty substantial lead for the president.

Take a look at Michigan. We haven't talked about Michigan. That's a 17 electoral vote state. It was one of the top targets of Bush from the Gore states. You've only got 30 percent of the vote in, and Kerry has a 60,000 vote lead, changing, still about a 60,000 vote lead with Nader no factor at all so for far. So the more you look at this, the more it begins to look like exactly what people thought was going to happen before Election Day. It's going to come down to three four, five, six states and we're still waiting for a single state to move out of one candidate's column or one party's column into the other.

BLITZER: Well, look at New Hampshire. New Hampshire is a state that went for Bush four years ago. It's too close to call. We haven't been able to make a projection yet. 66 percent of the precincts in. Kerry with 50 percent, Bush with 49 percent. 1 percent for Ralph Nader.

GREENFIELD: This is a state which we pointed this out several hours ago. If you put the map back the way it was in 2000, give New Hampshire to Kerry and Nevada to Kerry, you have a 269, 269 tie unless the president takes the one electoral vote in Maine, in which case he has 270 electoral votes.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...this election again, just in New Hampshire?

GREENFIELD: We can't find a single state, even in New Hampshire, where the Nader vote exceeds a margin. But I see your point. If Nader gets a few thousand votes and Bush winds up taking the vote by 2,000 that could determine it. Even at this level, you're right.

BLITZER: Talking about the Ralph Nader effect, let's talk to Ralph Nader, he is joining us now live. Thanks very much, Ralph Nader for joining us. Are you very disappointed in your turnout in your votes that we've seen so far?

RALPH NADER, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, since the Democrats, through their dirty tricks, have knocked us out of almost half the nation's population, it's obvious that you can't get votes if you're not on the ballot. The other thing is the incumbent being a Republican, a lot of the Democrats who supported us in 2000 come back into the fold with the Democratic Party. I mean, trying to challenge the two-apart electoral dictatorship, Wolf, is like trying to climb a cliff with a slippery rope.

We're not doing this to be the margin at the narrow confines between the two candidates. We're doing this to put forward for the American people a series of directions and policies that they would really support on health insurance and living wage and getting out of Iraq and cracking down on corporate crime et cetera. That -- They're long overdue. We're trying to change somewhat the trivial and gossipy type horse race politics we're in and do something substantive in response to the necessity of the people.

KING: There was a report you said you thought Kerry would win tonight. Is that true?

NADER: Yeah, at 4:00, I thought he was going to win. He may still win.

BLITZER: I know you told me a few weeks ago, Ralph Nader that if you can't be elected president, and you clearly can't be elected president, you hoped that -- you said John Kerry, I believe I'm paraphrasing, was the lesser of two evils?

NADER: Well, I said anybody's better than George W. Bush. I mean, he's just a big corporation, disguised as a human being. Time and time again, as two-thirds of the American people conclude, he sides with big business against workers, against consumers, against the environment. You name it, big business is his mantra. And that's not where the President of the United States should be. We do not need another corporation in the White House. We need a president that responds to the necessities of the people.

BLITZER: Just to point out you had 95,000 votes in Florida. The last time. With 95 percent of the precincts reporting, you're just under 30,000 votes right now. You're not doing, clearly, not doing as well as you did last time in Florida.

NADER: Yeah, that's obviously the case. As I say, once the incumbent in the White House is a Republican, the Democrats tend to go back into the fold. But I think there's something else at work here. There are more than a few conservatives, furious with Bush over the PATRIOT Act, big government, over huge deficits, over sovereignty shredding WTO and NAFTA. We have a letter to conservatives which, if the Democrats are smart they could have spun off some of these conservatives the way Reagan spun off what are now called the Reagan Democrats. But we have a letter to conservatives and a letter to liberals on our Web site, vote nader.org, for anybody interested in the details.

BLITZER:: Ralph Nader, thanks for spending a few moments with us on this historic night.

NADER: Thank you Wolf.

BLITZER: The Nader effect that doesn't look, as far as we can tell, Jeff, to be playing the kind of role it played four years ago, especially in Florida and New Hampshire.

GREENFIELD: I am looking at these numbers. I don't see a single state where he got much more than half of 1 percent of the vote, if that.

KING: He could affect New Hampshire if they finish, like, dead even and Nader got 1 percent that might give Bush the victory and he'd affect New Hampshire and affect the election.

WATSON: Not unusual, though, to see a third party candidate decline after running pretty well the first time. We saw that with Ross Perot, we're seeing that probably now with Ralph Nader, from 2000, maybe to 2004. Jeff and I were just talking for a bit about Florida. Where do things stand with Florida, with 95 percent of the precincts in, if things ultimately go well for the president, it's got to give a big familial hug to his brother, Jeb Bush. What will be interesting there is Jeb Bush, who embattled himself in that state leading up to his gubernatorial reelection campaign in 2002, ultimately pulled out a surprisingly big win that year, winning by 13 percent. If these numbers hold up, they'll say this is a surprising surprisingly big win and say the ground game worked particularly with evangelical Christians in Florida.

KING: It's close to four years ago we're holding off because -- I lived in Florida for 20 years. With 95 percent in and a 5 percent lead...

BLITZER: Those are 95 percent of the precincts reporting, some precincts are bigger than other precincts. That doesn't necessarily include the absentee ballots. I don't think it necessarily includes the absentee ballots. They can still be counted.

KING: We'd have to wait until Thursday.

WATSON: Here's the other interesting tweak. Of the 67 counties, 15 of them are using electronic voting. We don't know whether or not there will be issues, because for many counties, this is the first time they're doing it. During early voting, we did see some hiccups where computer had trouble hooking up to the main central data base. So I'm not saying that's happened, but it's certainly an issue both sides will look at, especially since this was a state that was so close last time.

KING: You're saying we could reach 7:00 tomorrow morning in Florida and not know.

WATSON: We could hand off to the team and have neither side, at least, concede.

BLITZER: You agree with that?

GREENFIELD: Well, I think that that's what Democrats may be telling themselves right now. But I'm just saying that that spread, with that percent of precincts in, I'm just going on past performance of states, that is an awfully big spread to make up even with these explanations. Now, I agree, we got to hold off. We got to wait, we got to see are there votes not being reported. That's just a lot of votes.

BLITZER: I want to remind our viewers what Jeff pointed out. At the very beginning when we started our broadcast, seems like a long time ago, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, if both of these candidates hold on to the states they captured the last time, George W. Bush has a certain advantage, because the states he carried the last time have increased population so the shift in population gives him a certain advantage right now.

GREENFIELD: Right.

KING: Of course, Florida may not matter if Kerry wins Ohio and splits the upper Midwest.

GREENFIELD: What Wolf is saying, if you allocate every state the way they did in 2000, Bush got 271 electoral votes last time. This time, it would be 278. Florida has a couple more votes. Our Sun Belt states do. The Frost Belt has lost votes and I think New York and Illinois. So Kerry -- We said hours ago and everybody has known this for weeks, Kerry needs something substantial from the Bush list to become president.

BLITZER: Like New Hampshire would be a good start for him.

GREENFIELD: A start, but it wouldn't do it. Ohio would do it. Colorado would do it.

WATSON: The only other interesting thing he could do, without Ohio, is hold on to the 20 and maybe grab Nevada and Colorado together.

BLITZER: To give our viewers a tennis analogy, we're going to see who breaks serve first.

GREENFIELD: Excellent.

BLITZER: That's a pretty good analogy, isn't it?

WATSON: It's very nice. It's very nice.

KING: So far, no one has.

BLITZER: No one has broken serve yet. It's an analogy we all can relate to. Anderson Cooper is with us. You're looking at some initiatives out there, referenda.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, there are interesting initiatives in union. There are 11 states in the union today voting on whether or not to ban gay marriage. Various amendments or propositions. Different names, but it's all the bottom line to ban gay marriage and in some cases eliminate some of the rights from civil unions. Ten of the 11 states so far, we can project, have voted to -- the people have voted to ban gay marriage in that state. The only state at this point we cannot project is Oregon. If you look over year, right now, "Yes" 52 percent, "No" 48 percent. Yes would be a vote to ban it, but only 39 percent of the precincts are in in Oregon, but ten of the 11 states in this union have voted to ban gay marriage and eliminate some of the rights for civil unions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You know that's a fascinating -- I guess it's a statement on where the country stands right now on this issue of same- sex marriage and we want to point out, Anderson, both of these candidates said they oppose same-sex marriage, although both seemed to indicate, including the president, to our own Larry King, that they support civil unions for gays and lesbians.

COOPER: That's right and especially just in the last couple days, President Bush gave some interviews in which he said he did support civil unions though that is certainly not the case in the Republican party platform.

BLITZER: He told you that a few months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In August. Oregon was the only hope that those who support same-sex marriage had in defeating and Oregon has had a history of defeating some of these pushes against gay marriage and gay rights and so Oregon was really the only hope and in addition to these 11, the other interesting thing is we had states like Missouri and Louisiana earlier in the process hold votes during their primaries to ban same-sex marriage.

KING: Jeff, what state is the most independent, the most that one year it's Republican, four years later, it's Democrat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a very good question. Well, in terms of swing states, up until recently, Missouri always voted with the winner. Ohio is a state that's always up for grabs, those two. In terms of maverickness though, you have to go to a state like Maine which gave Ross Perot a huge - I think they give him the single biggest percentage of the vote. You look at some of those western states, a state like Minnesota, that elects Jesse Ventura governor, people who vote with third party candidates.

KING: Oregon, Wayne Morse, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, but in terms of who moves back and forth, I think Missouri is moving out of that category now. I think Ohio looks like one of those states and Florida.

KING: And when did it used to be as Maine goes, so goes the nation? Was that Roosevelt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even before our time.

KING: It used to be, as Maine goes, so goes the nation.

BLITZER: They got an independent governor, Angus King, who was elected governor of Maine, Jesse Ventura. They used to have a caucus of the non-Democratic, non-Republican governors that get together and have a news conference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. Basically what you have here more seriously is you've had a shift over the last generation. The rock-ribbed Republican New England has moved except for New Hampshire, solidly into the Democratic path and the solid Democratic south has moved almost solidly into the Republican camp and the Republicans benefit from that in pure electoral terms.

KING: The southwest has become.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The southwest has been traditionally Republican but Democrats are hoping I think maybe with the Hispanic vote that they can break through there. That's one of these we're going to be looking at later tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Mexico was super close last time and that could be one of those that you start to see.

KING: Is Erskine Bowles conceding?

BLITZER: I want to just point out to our viewers, Erskine Bowles, the former White House chief of staff, who served under President Clinton, running a second time for the Senate in North Carolina. We haven't projected who is going to win in this contest, but we're told he may be getting ready to concede. Erskine Bowles lost the last time to Elizabeth Dole. Now he's running against Richard Burr (ph) and it looks like he's getting ready to concede. Are you surprised by that, Jeff?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that was a tight race. Once again, you're talking about a Democrat running in an increasingly red state in a presidential year. And even though coattails don't work the way they used to, you just are building in a difficulty when you have to overcome an eight or a 10 or in some states a 15 or 20 point break for the president.

BLITZER: That's the seat that John Edwards is giving up, a Democratic seat that would be a pickup for the Republicans. So when Senator Frist, the Senate majority leader said he thought they were going to gain seats, he may well be right.

KING: If he's not conceding, that's the unhappiest looking winner I have ever seen.

BLITZER: Those faces behind him are not very happy either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, Bill Clinton was brought into the race in Brooklyn, Bowles served as his chief of staff. Whereas the race was very close, when everything is said and done it may have been the specter of Clinton and the ads that Burr, the Republican candidate, ran that showed the two of them close together that may have hurt Erskine Bowles in this race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's another reason why Mr. Bowles may not look to happy is he is an extremely wealthy man and he poured several million of his own dollars into the Senate race. And I think that would make any candidate unhappy, to spend that much money and lose is just not a happiness inducing moment.

BLITZER: But when the president, the Republican presidential candidate does that well in a state like North Carolina or South Carolina, a lot of Democrats thought Inez Tenenbaum had a pretty good shot at that race and clearly, she didn't have a very good shot. She might have had a better shot if Bush wasn't carrying South Carolina as decisively as he clearly was.

KING: And the popular vote is very indicative of the electoral vote, 51 percent to 48 percent in the popular.

BLITZER: There it is right there, right behind me. With 59 percent of the precincts across the country reporting so far, 51 percent for Bush, 48 percent for Kerry, 1 percent for Ralph Nader. It's very, very close. All 50 states, with the exception of Alaska, they've closed their polling, al though people may still be in line to vote if they were in line before the polling -- before the hour ended in many of those states, they're going to let them vote until they finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's jumping the gun Wolf. That's about a 2 million vote lead for the president, a man who lost the popular vote by half a million votes last time. And there's been some speculation that this might be the year when it was reversed, that the president would win the popular vote and Senator Kerry would win the electoral vote. It's still too early to know how that popular vote comes out, but it's looking just from these numbers and the fact that every state has closed, that the president may wind up tonight as the last (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with a small lead in the popular vote. We don't know where the electoral vote will be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just as interestingly, the question is, will he be the first candidate in four cycles to actually get 50 percent? Remember, 1992, nobody know one got 50 percent. 1996, no one got 50 percent. 2000. We may be finally getting back to a point where the winner actually can get 50 percent of the popular or the loser. Well said.

BLITZER: Let's check in with our senior White House correspondent John King. John King is at the White House. I think a lot of people thought John you might have been over at the Reagan building, the Reagan Center of the International Trade Center in Washington where we had anticipated the president would eventually make his way there to deliver either a concession or a victory speech. I see you're still at the White House. That says to me the president is still at the White House?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president is still at the White House. By the time he makes it to the Reagan Center, Wolf, he may be serving breakfast. White House officials telling us that the plan still is that the president will go to the Reagan Center tonight if there is a winner, if there is a winner tonight. Now how long they will stretch tonight whether that means midnight, 1:00 a.m. we still don't know.

The president is still watching the results, but I can tell you, the mood has changed quite a bit over the last couple hours. One of the worst kept secrets in a campaign is that perhaps we don't put the exit polls on the air, but both campaigns are well aware of what the exit poll data is. And here at the Bush White House, at 7:00, even 8:00 tonight and at the Bush campaign headquarters, they were scratching their heads looking at the exit polls and saying how could we have been so wrong.

Those exit polls showing a Kerry win in Florida, those exit polls showing perhaps a Kerry win in Ohio and in several other states that have been called a Kerry margin very different from what the actual results are showing. So what the Bush campaign believes now is that the exit polls were flawed. They say that there is a bigger Democratic representation and if you look at a state like New Jersey, yes, Senator Kerry won it, but not by the margin that the exit poll projected. If you look at a state that we've held out on for a while, North Carolina, President Bush won it by a bigger margin that the exit polls showed. So they're hoping that that now holds up in places like Florida, the president has spoken to his brother at least three times we're told, the governor of Florida.

They're confident they'll pull that state out and they say that their workers are now looking at those lines of people still waiting to vote in Ohio and they're worried about that one, because of the aggressive Democratic turnout operation. But they say their people on the ground are telling them they think they will eke out Ohio as well. So a much more optimistic mood here at the Bush White House. They're not saying the president will win, but they're saying now they believe he can win. And they're hearing very optimistic reports, again both from Florida and Ohio, Wolf.

BLITZER: John, take us behind the scenes and you make an excellent point. Throughout the afternoon, as those exit polls were coming in and here at CN, we never reported what those exit polls were showing, though we certainly knew what was going on. People all over basically knew, although we always recognize that these are polls and polls can be accurate. They don't necessarily always wind up being accurate. But this mood shift that you've seen, are you ready to say that the White House officials, based on what you're hearing, are optimistic now that he's going to be reelected?

JOHN KING: Some of them would say they're optimistic. Others would say they're more optimistic. It depends on who you talk to and exactly when you talk to them. Some get off the phone calls from Ohio and they're a bit nervous. Someone else makes a phone call 10 minute later and they feel a little better. They're watching the results coming in in Wisconsin, a state the president heavily targeted. They're quite happy about that. They're a little disappointed from what they see in the results in Iowa so far.

They're still hoping that the precincts still out perhaps bring things their way. So it can depend literally from minute to minute how it goes here. But the mood is better than it was at 7:00 and 8:00 and one thing they're complaining about, Wolf, is that we didn't call any states based on those exit polls. But what the White House would say is that CNN and other news organization, they're certainly not singling CNN out, that the tone of the coverage is influenced by what we think we see in the exit polls. They say that after this, much like four years ago, and they're certainly hoping we don't have a recount and don't go on forever. But what the Bush campaign is already saying tonight is that we're going to be looking at our exit polls again, even if we do clean all this up tonight and say something went wrong.

BLITZER: All right. John King, thanks very much. We'll be check back with you, could be a long night for you, for the president, for all of us, for the American people as well.

Let's take a look and see what the results are. With 97 percent of the precincts reporting in Florida, Bush with 52 percent of the vote, 3.5 million, Kerry with 47 percent of the vote, 3.2 million. Approximately 300,000 spread right there, Ralph Nader, 30,000 votes, a lot less than he came up with last time. He had almost 95,000 the last time.

In Ohio, another key battleground state, with 64 percent of the precincts reporting, the president is atop with 52 percent of the vote, 1.8 million, Kerry with 48 percent, 1.7 million, 100,000 under 20,000 or so votes separating the two, 64 percent still to go. Judy Woodruff is going to help us better understand at the CNN election analysis center, what we know and what we don't know. Judy?

WOODRUFF: Well, Wolf, there are still a number of these states outstanding, but what I do want to share with you is that a well- placed source inside the Kerry campaign is telling me that they think they have lost Florida to George W. Bush. There is no state in which, I think, the Democrats have invested more emotion, more energy, more effort. So if this bears out, it is obviously an enormous disappoint for the Kerry campaign.

This is not official. We are not calling Florida. CNN is not calling Florida yet. But as you just showed on the boards a minute ago Wolf, you and Jeff, we do have a lot of the vote in Florida in from all over the state. George Bush has done well in the so-called I-4 corridor, the Orlando to Tampa area. And even though the Democratic vote is high in the south, it does now appear the Kerry campaign pessimistic about the chance that those late counting absentee ballots and the rest of it are going to push George W. Bush -- push John Kerry over the top. They've known all along Florida was tough. The president's brother is the governor, but believe me, we know they put their heart into it. So if this bears out, it is an enormous disappointment.

Having said that, they are still looking to other parts of the country. They're still very much looking to Ohio, feeling good, cautiously optimistic about Ohio. They're still looking, of course at Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa. They still see a way to win, but I would say the mood, I'm hearing from the Kerry people and I'd like to get Candy Crowley to confirm this, is somewhat the mirror opposite of what we just heard John King say from the White House, where the Bush people were down, now they're a little more up in terms of the Kerry people. They were up. They're not so much down, but they are realistic that some of these states are still out there and they're waiting.

BLITZER: In Florida, Judy, with about 97 percent of the precincts reporting, about a 300,000 spread in favor of the president, 52 to 47 percent, with that kind of information, with the exit polls and the raw numbers that are coming in, why can't we project a winner in Florida yet?

WOODRUFF: Because, Wolf, the spread is just not far big enough. And we don't want to take any chances. We do look at the exit polls. John was just talking about some unhappiness with the exit polls, but we're not making calls tonight in states where it is anywhere -- anything like close unless we have sample precincts and unless we have the raw vote and that's what we're waiting for. We're waiting for some hard numbers and a comfortable spread, so that we know when we make that projection, it's a projection that is real and that is based on the best information that we have and the best knowledge in terms of, you know, folks again here in our election analysis center who have been covering politics and watching elections for years and years. We don't want to be in a position of going out on a limb and calling or projecting a state and then turning around and having to pull it back. That was a very painful lesson that we learned four years ago. Nobody wants to go through that again.

BLITZER: All right. Judy Woodruff, we'll be getting back to you. You wanted us to talk to Candy Crowley. Well, Candy Crowley is joining us now from Boston with a little insight. What the Kerry people are saying Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, honestly, it depends on which one you talk to. I asked about the mood. They said, well, it's one of anticipation. You know, before they were -- it was more upbeat. Obviously, this is a more realistic look. They said, look, we always knew this would be close. I think there was more eager anticipation earlier on in the night. I mean, they say look, we're still going to win Ohio. We're still going to win Minnesota. We're still going to win Wisconsin. We're still going to win Iowa.

I asked about New Mexico. They said, well, it's going to be a late night in New Mexico, but we'll still win there. So there is a -- you talk to others and it's more couched. They'll say, well, you know, I still expect we'll win this. I expect we'll win that. So they obviously, there's sort of a tonal difference. But what they're saying is we still expect to win these things.

Florida, they've considerably dialed back the lingo on that. I think they're watching these numbers. They know there are not that many more votes out. So Florida, they seem to have come to terms with. Others, they just insist they're going to win, including Ohio and they base it again on a lot of Democratic areas in Dayton, around Columbus, around Cincinnati, which they say have not come in yet. Those are Democratic votes. They still feel very strongly that they'll win Ohio.

BLITZER: The senator is -- where is he? Where is he watching all of this Candy?

CROWLEY: He's at his home here in Boston watching. At some point, he's expected to come down here. There's a crowd gathered here. So they will expect, if there's a definitive result sometime tonight, that he'll come down. But right now, he's up at his home in Boston with his wife and family.

BLITZER: Candy Crowley, reporting from Boston. We'll be checking back with you. Thank you very much.

Let's take a look at and bring in the chairman of the Bush/Cheney campaign, Marc Racicot, there he is right there, the former governor of Montana, governor thanks very much for joining us. Give our viewers your assessment of what's happening in Ohio right now.

MARC RACICOT, BUSH/CHENEY: Well, it's trending, obviously. It has been all night in the right direction from our perspective. I think there's about five points and it's been that way almost since the very beginning of the vote count. Cleveland is in and my understanding, and Franklin County is almost completely in. As a consequence of that, we're very hopeful. There's still about 35 to 40 percent of the vote left to be counted, but we think it's moving obviously in the right direction.

BLITZER: A couple of other news organizations have already projected Florida will go in your column for the president. We have not yet been able to project that. What do you sense right now? I assume you think Florida is going to be a Bush win.

RACICOT: Yeah, I do. When you total up the number of votes that are still left outstanding, it doesn't make up for the margin that's there. It's quite a significant change from 2000, obviously, when there were 537 votes, ultimately that separated the two candidates. At the end of the day, when you take a look at how we performed with Latinos and Hispanics and with people all throughout the entire state, I think that we feel pretty good about Florida at this moment in time. I'm the son of a coach Wolf and I'm always reticent to dance in the end zone until they have called the final whistle.

KING: Mark what do you make of the other states? How does this outcome look to you? Very close, very close.

RACICOT: I do think. Obviously, New Hampshire is still up in the air and that's probably a state that we're keeping a very -- that is a state we're keeping a very close eye on. It looks good for us in Wisconsin and we think in New Mexico and you add that to the other Bush states that we're depending upon, Nevada, Colorado, and take a look at what's left, then, is Iowa and Michigan that are the large target states.

And at the end of the day, even without New Hampshire, even without Wisconsin and New Mexico, we're obviously still in a very good position. But we've been competitive all night long in both Wisconsin and New Mexico, leading. Not that many points separate us in Iowa. It's still something that's not out of reach. We think probably the brightest prospects are in Wisconsin and in New Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead Carlos.

WATSON: Governor, this is Carlos Watson. Do you expect any of the automatic recount provisions in any of these states to kick in, meaning that the race is so close in a state less than 1 percent that we'll see an automatic recount?

RACICOT: You know, I don't know the answer to that question. I think, though, when I had the chance to spend some time, privilege to spend time with Larry King a couple of nights last week, we talked about this topic of voter registration and fraud that might be present and difficulties surrounding election counts accurate country. And I think that moment in time I said that I did not expect that there was going to be a wholesale problem across the country, because people have worked so hard to build the confidence in the American people and to do the right things. And I think that has borne itself out tonight. There certainly are always human errors here and there, but we've not seen the kind of difficulties that some were predicting. At the end of the day, in Florida, when you think about the potentially contested ballots that they've been talking about throughout the course of the evening, they wouldn't make up the distance. So I can't see that there's just an automatic recount there. So I don't know which states that might be a possibility in. I haven't seen one of those states present itself yet this evening.

BLITZER: Governor Racicot do you think we'll know tonight or in the early hours of the morning who will be the next president of the United States?

RACICOT: I really do. I think we're going to know Florida here before too long. It won't be long after that where we'll have a bead on Ohio. And then I think the other states will follow rather rapidly, Nevada and Colorado, I think will follow fairly closely thereafter, New Mexico. So I do think we will have a fairly significant amount of definition and the people will be able to go to bed, al though somewhat late, it will be a longer night perhaps than what some would have liked but I believe that we'll know this evening.

KING: Marc, what do you think happened wrong with the exit polls?

RACICOT: You know, I just don't know how much they invest in the effort, but that's a real disappointment. I'd have to tell you. I think it's something that is dispiriting to people across the country. Obviously, I think it's dispiriting to those in the media as well.

They'd like to have a reliable vehicle for them to be able to inform the public. I think if it was reliable, it would be helpful. But when you have circumstances like in North Carolina, where the model reflected 63 percent of the voters were female, and you know that's just simply not true or in Florida, where the Hispanic population had actually decreased from the year 2000 when we know it had increased, there's obviously something very, very wrong with the process that's producing those numbers.

KING: Jeff.

GREENFIELD: So, governor, it's Jeff Greenfield. So after all of our media's attempts to say yes, we know we got Florida wrong. We know it was flawed, you know it and everybody in the business knows that all afternoon, these exit polls, even though we don't talk about them publicly, are flying over the Internet. Every political operative, every political junky knows people are lined up and saying what went wrong, you must have been getting a lot of frantic phone calls. Are you saying it in any way affected how people voted?

RACICOT: You know, I don't know the answer to that. I know that because I grew up and voted out west that naturally, we always paid attention and listened to what was taking place in other parts of the country. And we were two hours behind, and sometimes I believed that what was happening, what was being predicted, which seemed to be so accurate for so long, sometimes would influence the choices that voters would make after they got off work and whether or not they'd go forward and vote.

And so even though it may not impact a presidential race and I have no way of knowing that, I can tell you plainly, that it impacts races up and down the ballot and so we've got to get it right somehow or simply not use it as a tool in this process. And I've sensed that people in the media who would like to have this tool available to them are somewhat disappointed this evening as well.

BLITZER: All right. Governor Racicot, thanks for spending a few moments with us on this night. Governor Racicot, the chairman of the Bush/Cheney campaign, the former governor of Montana.

Let's move over and bring in the other side right now, Mike McCurry is joining us from Kerry headquarters, a senior advisor to John Kerry, former White House press secretary. Give us your latest understanding of what's happening, for example, in Florida and Ohio.

MIKE MCCURRY, KERRY ADVISOR: Well I think you've summarized it pretty well. It's obviously very very close in Florida. Looking beyond Florida, the Kerry campaign is obviously awaiting the results in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, states where we feel we have an excellent chance of winning and very strong organizations that are reporting to us that they are producing a fabulous vote for Senator Kerry.

I think particularly in Ohio, in listening to chairman -- the chairman right now, the only way the electoral math works well for him is if Ohio is in the Republican column. We don't think that's where it's going to be, Wolf, by the end of the evening or now very soon into the morning. Because we think Ohio is going to go to the Kerry column and then that opens up a lot of possibilities on the electoral math that favors Senator Kerry. So we're waiting here very confident in the work that we've been doing on the ground and looking forward to the results we're going to hear.

KING: Mike, if you win Ohio and lose Florida, what will be your key? What will you look at to win this for your candidate?

MCCURRY: Then you go to those upper Midwest states where we've campaigned extraordinarily hard, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. That's where you know we spent a fair amount of time in the last two weeks of the campaign. The reports we're getting from our organizations and each of those three states are very, very positive and I think that's of course would make a big, big difference in the outcome right there.

BLITZER: What about Michigan? We haven't projected a winner in Michigan yet because we don't have enough information yet. Mike, what are you hearing about Michigan?

MCCURRY: The last report I've had is a very favorable one. I think we've been looking at some of those states where we campaigned harder. But I think we're very confident about the work that we're doing on the ground in Michigan. The reports there about turnout, particularly in the Detroit area have been very good and matching frankly what we're hearing everywhere. One of the obvious stories tonight is the extraordinary numbers of Americans who went out and voted today. They clearly were motivated to participate and we felt from the beginning that if turnout inched towards 120 million, closer to 120 million than 110 million, that it would be a very good night for Senator Kerry and he would likely wind up as president-elect.

WATSON: Mike, this is Carlos Watson. In the last couple of hours before polls closed, other than Senator Kerry's satellite interviews that he did, I think, Joe Lockhart said, with about 38 different stations, was there anything else unusual that you did that you maybe did not do in 2000?

MCCURRY: Well, you mentioned the big difference in your earlier discussion about the impact of these exit polls. We didn't sniff that glue. We said you know, we've got to work very, very hard and continue to campaign right up to the very end. Senator Kerry sat in that chair and talking to the voters across the country for almost four hours, precisely because we didn't want to listen to that information that came in early. We don't know how reliable it is. What's more reliable is what we hear from those very talented organizers that we've had on the ground, getting the vote mobilized and getting people to the polls. That's who we trust and ultimately, the final count that we begin to get when the votes are actually counted.

And looking at all of that data, which is the important data, we said we think we're going to have a very good night now into the morning. And we're very confident that at the end of this, when the votes are counted, John Kerry's going to be elected president.

BLITZER: Mike McCurry is confident. Marc Racicot is confident. Everyone is confident, but we'll have to wait and see who is going to be more confident when all of the voting is in. Let's go over to Paula Zahn. She's watching all of this together with the CROSSFIRE gang. Paula?

PAULA ZAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENTS: Thanks, Wolf. We're trying to get a sense of where this election stands now in advance of calling Florida? How do you see it, James?

JAMES CARVILLE, "CROSSFIRE": I think Senator Kerry has got to draw an inside straight.

ZAHN: Can he do it?

CARVILLE: It's possible, but I think it's time to acknowledge that the president has a superior hand in this election right now. Senator Kerry obviously is going to have to carry Ohio. I've been on the phone, been talking to Steve Verchetti (ph) who's up there, very smart guy, said (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He obviously has to hold every state you know, he'll have to hold all but a few states if he does. The key is Ohio. And Judy reported in, I think some validity to that, that the Kerry people are very pessimistic about Florida. And so we're at a situation here where, like I say, Senator Kerry needs to draw an inside straight if he's going to win this election.

ZAHN: How does it look for the president? ROBERT NOVAK: I think James is right and I would say that James and Paul and a lot of other people in the Democratic Party were wrong about how unpopular they thought George W. Bush was. He was unpopular with the people they talked to. He was unpopular with the people who -- the activists in the Democratic Party and liberals.

ZAHN: Wait a minute, his approval ratings were below 50 percent going into this election.

NOVAK: That's not unusual. Harry Truman's was below 50 percent. Very often, Bill Clinton's were below 50 percent before he was reelected.

ZAHN: You said very rarely?

NOVAK: Occasionally.

ZAHN: Occasionally.

NOVAK: But the interesting thing is that the Democratic Party now has a terrible burden which it won't admit. And that is the burden of the solid south. It was a burden that, for much of our history, the Republican Party carried. They would start every election with a Democratic Party in a huge advantage with the whole south. Now, the Republicans, they win every southern state. Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff, loses in North Carolina for the second straight election. They may pick up five senate seats from the south. You have in the Democratic Party a southern exposure problem.

ZAHN: What about the southern exposure problem and how it relates to the numbers we're looking at tonight.

PAUL BEGALA, "CROSSFIRE": It's a cultural problem. Democrats are being seen increasingly as liberal on issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, gun control, and if I can compound the problem you know, that's OK in the south, because the Democrats had solid west coast to solid east coast, but it's also bleeding into the Midwest. Missouri was never seriously I shouldn't say never -- wasn't in play for the last month or so of the campaign because of those same social cultural issues. What's been interesting to me is to watch people voting against their own economic interest. A lot of middle class and lower middle class voters voting for President Bush, because they believe in him on those social issues. A whole lot of well off people who are voting for Senator Kerry, even though Senator Kerry wants to raise taxes, if he becomes president on the rich. So the social cultural issues cut hard against Democrats among middle class voters.

CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Democrats have a rural problem and it is -- you can't look at these last two elections. I mean, one thing that you can't do after the last two elections is stick your head in the sand, first get to acknowledge that there's a problem there. It's going to be, if -- I hope Senator Kerry carries Ohio. Let me just say that before I go too far into this. I've drawn some inside straits in my life. I hope that he does. But there's going to have to be an assessment of how Democrats can do better in the rural vote. I completely agree with that. If Senator Kerry loses Ohio though, what does it tell us?

This is a candidate who spent a lot of money, perhaps more money on advertising in Ohio than any other state in the campaign, dozens of dozens of visits, 230,000 manufacturing jobs lost during

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